The Mets’ stable of right-handed reliever needs a little bit of variety.
Enter Brad Hand.
Reports from Monday revealed the Mets have expressed interest in the free-agent left-handed reliever, who rose to prominence as one of the best relievers in the game, first with the San Diego Padres before two-plus seasons with the Cleveland Indians.
A three-time All-Star, Hand boasts a 2.70 ERA and 1.066 WHIP over the last five seasons with 104 saves. He was at his most dominant in 2020, recording 16 saves with a career-best 2.05 ERA and 0.773 WHIP — thought it was overshadowed by a postseason bobble against the Yankees.
Of the eight relievers the Mets currently list on their depth chart — Edwin Diaz, Trevor May, Jeurys Familia, Miguel Castro, Dellin Betances, Drew Smith, Robert Gsellman, and Jacob Barnes — all are right-handed. Not to mention Seth Lugo, who is expected to be flexed into his better role as a reliever as long as the Mets sign another starting arm or two this winter.
It makes signing Hand the most sensical move for the Mets, whose names have also hovered around right-handed free-agent reliever, Liam Hendriks.
Not only would Hand provide a premier southpaw option out of the pen and another late-innings option to boot, but he is also expected to be cheaper than Hendriks, for example.
MLB Trade rumors predicted his next contract to be a two-year, $14 million deal ($7 million annually) while Fangraphs’ crowdsourcing has found the median of countless projections and predictions to be three years, $27.9 million ($9.3 million annually). Hendriks, on the other hand, is expected to make well over $10 million annually.
The Mets have made bolstering their bullpen one of their top priorities. Steve Cohen’s first major signing as owner of the club was inking the former Twins reliever May to a two-year, $15.5 million pact.