If there’s one position the Dodgers are likely to add a player or two during the offseason, it’s almost guaranteed to be a relief pitcher in some shape or form.
Ever since Blake Treinen, Pedro Baez, Jake McGee and Alex Wood became free agents at the conclusion of the 2020 season, fans of the team have been contemplating several relievers who could potentially be good fits in Los Angeles.
One name that has picked up steam lately is lefty Brad Hand.
On Wednesday, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Dodgers have shown interest in the 30-year-old Minneapolis native, conceivably using him in the same capacity as Treinen, should the 32-year-old Treinen land somewhere else.
At the conclusion of the 2020 season, Hand was placed on waivers, as Cleveland was hoping some team would claim him under his $10 million price tag. The three-time All-Star ultimately cleared waivers, mandating the Indians to pay his $1 million buyout. As a result, he’s currently a free agent without a contract.
Originally selected by the Marlins in the second round of the 2008 MLB draft, Hand made a career-high 82 appearances for the Padres in 2016, right around the same time the rumors initially began to swirl about the Dodgers having interest in him.
Just before the 2018 trade deadline, San Diego shipped Hand and righty Adam Cimber to the Cleveland bullpen in exchange for catcher Francisco Mejia, who was ranked among MLB’s most elite prospects at the time.
During the 2020 shortened season, Hand led all of baseball with 16 saves, posting a 2.05 ERA, a 1.37 FIP, and a very impressive 0.773 WHIP, alongside 29 punchouts in an even 22 innings over 23 appearances.
Over the course of his 10-year big league career, he has tallied a 3.65 ERA, a 3.69 FIP, and a 1.235 WHIP over 396 appearances. He has a career 9.2 K/9.
As far as his scouting report goes, Hand’s main weapon is a sweeping slider, often resulting in a much higher number of flyballs compared to other relievers. His four-seam fastball also generates more flyballs than usual, while showing plenty of natural sinking action. His true sinker is probably his best put-away pitch in terms of swings and misses.
Hand has also been known to sparingly tinker with a curve ball.
After peaking in the 94-95 MPH range during the 2018 season, Hand’s fastball sat at 91-92 MPH in 2020, according to Brooks Baseball.
Already, the Dodgers have been linked to a few other big-named relievers, such as free-agent righty Liam Hendriks.
Front-office boss Andrew Friedman has shown in recent years that he’s not hesitant to spend on veteran relief arms, as made evident by Treinen’s one-year, $10 million deal last year and Joe Kelly’s three-year, $27 million contract before the 2019 season.