Cleveland Indians Placing Brad Hand On Outright Waivers Completely Inexcusable
At the 2018 trade deadline, the Cleveland Indians sought to bolster their bullpen. They made the bold decision to trade Francisco Mejia, one of the best prospects in the game, for a pair of relievers in Adam Cimber and Brad Hand.
For his part, Hand has been fantastic for the Indians. Since joining his new team, Hand is 8-6 with 58 saves, a 2.78 ERA, 1.121 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, and a 13.0 K/9. Honestly, you cannot ask for more from a reliever over the course of 2.5 seasons.
In fact, since the date of that trade, Hand leads the majors in saves. By WAR, he’s been the seventh best reliever in all of baseball. By FIP and K/9, he ranks sixth.
Arguably, this makes him the best pure closet in baseball. If not the best, he’s certainly in the top 5-10. All told, Hand has flat out been a GREAT reliever. Each and every MLB team would be lucky to have him, and at a $10 million team option, he’s a relative bargain.
The Indians didn’t see it that way. All they saw was $10 million being too big for their budget. Worse yet, rather than decline his option and buy him out for $1 million, they put him on waivers. As a result, they now don’t even have to pay him that buy out.
This makes waiving Hand a completely dishonest move made completely in bad faith. If they don’t want him, pay the $1 million. That’s what you agreed to do when you took on that contract.
More than this being bad faith, it’s just plain incompetent. Assuredly, the other 29 teams would’ve had interest in Hand. Someone would have opted to make a trade for him.
More than that, for a team looking to also trade Francisco Lindor or really any player making anything more than $1 million, they could’ve included Hand in that deal to maximize their return. Every which way you look at this, there’s no defending this bizarre and just plain dumb decision.
Looking forward, why not wait for Steve Cohen to officially take over the Mets. It’s likely you could’ve received something in return for Hand while still getting the salary relief. Why not see how much he’s willing to spend instead of just now giving him free reign to grab Hand in the off chance he clears waivers?
As an aside, that’s part of the problem with what Mayor Bill De Blasio is pulling. Understandably, with Cohen not yet having full authorization and the previous deal having fallen apart, you can understand why he and the Wilpons are a little gun shy giving the go-ahead on making moves like these.
In any event, the Indians waiving Hand is bad for baseball. Postseason teams don’t get rid of proven closers for no return. That coupled with the Braves declining Darren O’Day‘s option and the Cardinals doing the same with Kolten Wong is a very bad harbinger for the next CBA talks.
In the end, there is nothing good about the Indians waiving Hand. It is a bad faith and incompetent decision. For the Mets and Cohen, you can only hope he’s approved in time to maximize on all the horrendous penny wise-pound foolish decisions MLB teams already seem to be making.