Colorado Rockies: The case for signing reliever Brad Hand
Throughout November, we will present the cases for and against some free agents that the Colorado Rockies may look at this offseason. Today, we look at the case for signing reliever Brad Hand.
The Cleveland Indians surprised a lot of people, including most Indians fans, when they decided to not exercise their team option for $10 million with Brad Hand for 2021 in a cost-cutting measure. They did it partially due to the pandemic as, like many teams including the Colorado Rockies, their revenue plummeted in 2020.
The Indians slashed their payroll even more as they also turned down their options on first baseman Carlos Santana and outfielder Domingo Santana, which were another $22.5 million combined. They also may trade shortstop Francisco Lindor to slash payroll even more.
Whether or not the Rockies decide to cut their payroll (e.g. trade Nolan Arenado) even after having some more payroll off the books after this season (e.g. Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw, Wade Davis, and Ian Desmond’s contract is cut in half) remains to be seen but if they still want to remain competitive in 2021 (which the Rockies more than likely will), they must address the biggest fault of the team in recent years: the bullpen.
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One of the biggest ways that the Rockies could address it is by signing Brad Hand.
First off, he would eliminate a problem the Rockies had in 2020: a lack of a left-handed reliever. The only two relievers that were left-handed that appeared for the Rockies in 2020 were Phillip Diehl and James Pazos. The duo combined for 11 1/3 innings (the Rockies relievers had 206 innings) with an ERA of 13.50. The team went out a left-handed reliever for much of the season due to their ineffectiveness.
Hand also would, likely, be a cheap option to help the bullpen. With the pandemic, this offseason’s free agency could be a “bloodbath” since numerous teams are or will make payroll cuts. Hand will also be 31 years old by the time the regular season will start so the Rockies could get him on a team-friendly contract in length.
The stats also say that he was one of the best relievers in the American League in 2020. He pitched in 23 games (22 innings) and pitched to a 2.05 ERA with a FIP of 1.37, a WHIP of 0.773, 12 strikeouts, and 1.6 walks per nine innings pitched, and he also did not allow a single home run during the regular season. He also led the AL in games finished (21) and saves (16 saves).
If the Rockies don’t want him to be the closer, he also has significant experience as a set-up man as well.
The Rockies must look at their options at improving their bullpen from outside of the organization if they plan on being in playoff contention in 2021 and Brad Hand very well could be, at least, part of the answer to solving the bullpen issues for the near future.