4) Let’s not rule out an NY Mets reunion with Brad Hand either
Brad Hand had an interesting year for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2022. In 45 innings across 55 appearances, he had a 2.80 ERA. That’s about the end of the good. He walked batters at a rate of 4.6 per 9 and struck them out at a rate of only 7.6 per 9. It definitely seems like he is on the decline and managed to escape a lot of danger. His 1.33 WHIP and 3.93 FIP add to this idea.
Hand was able to keep the ball in the yard, allowing only a pair of home runs all season. That’s no easy feat when you’re pitching in Philly as often as he did last year.
Hand’s fall from grace began in 2021 when he went from a dominating closer in Cleveland to a trade deadline chip of the Washington Nationals. You probably remember him appearing in 16 games for the 2021 Mets when he had a 2.70 ERA but it came with a 3.40 FIP.
Teams may be scared of Hand because of those metrics suggesting he has been more lucky than good. Eventually, those factors must catch up to a player.
In a similar spot as Smith, the Mets may view Hand as someone to only go after if his price tag drops drastically. A very affordable deal late in the offseason might be what Eppler is waiting for.