Three-time All-Star Brad Hand
Brad Hand is undoubtedly the most high profile left-handed reliever on the market, and one of the best in baseball. The 30-year-old’s asking price will likely lie in the $5-10M annual range, but for a reliever of his caliber that investment would be worth every penny for the lefty-starved Mariners. Hand’s $10M option for 2021 was declined after he was placed on waivers by Cleveland and went unclaimed.
Originally a converted starter from the Marlins organization, Hand built a reputation for himself in the Padres bullpen. In his first season as a reliever Hand appeared in a league-high 82 games. He also had a 2.92 ERA and 3.07 FIP in 2016, while allowing a microscopic .125 batting average in 136 plate appearances against lefties. The rebuilding Padres sent him to Cleveland about a week before the deadline in 2018.
Since 2017 (his first season as a closer), Hand has been included in every All-Star Game. He also had 103 saves in that time, with a 2.87 FIP, a 2.61 ERA, and a 4.61:1 K/BB ratio. Hand has struck out just under 100 batters per season as well in that timeframe.
The best part about Hand is his versatility. He is great against right-handers but even better against lefties, and has shown the willingness to adapt and change roles multiple times throughout his career. Hand is the premier left-handed reliever on the market and should be Jerry Dipoto’s top target.
Brad Hand will also fit nicely into the Seattle Mariners plan because Hand is a veteran, but not an old veteran towards the tail end of his career. The Mariners are not in a win-now mode yet, but they will be in a couple of years. If Jerry Dipoto can sign him to a multi-year deal, Hand could be one of the most important pitchers for the Mariners when they begin to seriously compete.
Next up, a seasoned veteran with playoff experience.