What’s up with Brad Hand?
Recently, both the Nationals and Yankees acquired multiple relievers in single trades, with Washington picking up Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson and New York getting David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle (along with third baseman Todd Frazier). Among those two teams, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington look for more help. They lost Blake Treinen in the deal, who has a 5.59 ERA on the season but better peripherals and even better stuff. Plus, Madson’s old and Doolittle’s an injury risk, which, combined with the loss of Treinen, makes the Nationals bullpen still relatively thin given their championship aspirations.
Meanwhile, Hand’s in San Diego, but there are still 12 days until the deadline. Here are some disjointed thoughts on possibly the best reliever left on the market.
How much does the 2.5 years of control add to Hand’s trade value?
Hand has a favorable contract, signed for $1.375 million this year and still arbitration-eligible through 2019. Here’s the thing with relievers, though: they’re relievers. You rarely hear about major-league teams building around a relief pitcher, especially if the player isn’t Craig Kimbrel or Andrew Miller or Kenley Jansen. Relievers are too volatile to really project two or three years down the road. I’d guess that a team looking to acquire Hand would view his arb-eligible 2018 season as a legit bonus. An additional year of control in 2019, though, would hardly register much extra value. Hand will be 29 then, more expensive, and carrying a heavy workload on his left arm.