Left-Handed Reliever Brad Hand
When the Cleveland Indians surprisingly declined Brad Hand’s $10 million club option before the start of free agency, it sent a bit of a shockwave to the rest of the league on how the market may move this offseason. With the 30-year old reliever now hitting free agency it’s certainly worth noting that Hand can be considered the second-best reliever on the open market behind Liam Hendriks.
During the 2020 season Hand had posted a 2.05 ERA with 16 saves (which led the American League) in 22 innings pitched for the Indians. The three-time All-Star also had a dazzling 0.773 WHIP which was the lowest of his career and struck out 33.7% of the batters he faced this season. Hand certainly wasn’t let go due to his spectacular season, but due to financial constraints that the Cleveland front office will be facing this winter.
While the Mets seem to be set at closer with Edwin Diaz, it could be argued that the team could use another dominant reliever in the bullpen, as question marks are surrounding who may take over the set-up role in 2021. With fellow southpaw Justin Wilson hitting free agency as well, the Mets could look to Hand to fill that left-handed void in their bullpen.
Dominant and consistent relievers don’t often hit the open market but when they do, usually a bidding war ensues. It’s very hard to tell how the free-agent landscape is going to look this offseason, especially for relievers, but it would be in the Mets best interest to overpay for a dominant reliever long on results to help shore up the late innings next season.