Brad Hand’s Departure Makes Room for Younger Relievers

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 29: Shortstop Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians pats closer Brad Hand #33 after Hand gave up four runs in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox and was removed from the game at Progressive Field on July 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. The White Sox defeated the Indians 4-0. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Brad Hand may have been one of the best closers in baseball this past season, but it was not enough for the Indians to want to pick up his $10 million option. This decision presumably came down to the Indians’ financial situation (with the 2020 season costing the Indians organization millions), combined with the Tribe having other options in the bullpen. No matter what one thinks about this move, the Indians have the bullpen depth to do this and it’s most likely going to work out well. 

This move creates more opportunities for young arms like Emmanuel Clase, James Karinchak, Cal Quantrill, Tristen McKenzie, etc. Last year, Karinchak was one of the best relievers in baseball and as long as he continues to develop, he could become the real-life “Wild Thing.” Then there’s Clase, the centerpiece of the SP Corey Kluber deal last offseason, who was suspended for the 2020 season due to testing positive for a prohibited performance-enhancing drug. Before he was suspended, he was expected to play a big part in the Indians’ already great bullpen. Now that he’s back, he’ll hopefully pick up where he left off. 

Then there’s Quantrill and McKenzie. The front office sees both of these pitchers as potential starters, but as of now, they may be assigned to the bullpen. With the departure of Hand, they will no doubt have much bigger roles.

Looking at the bigger picture, there’s how this move impacts the Indians’ financial decisions. As expected, the Indians declined Carlos Santana ($17.5 million) and Domingo Santana’s options and if Brad Hand’s $10 million option is included, the Indians will save $32.5 million next season. Though the front office could use that money to help cover their 2020 losses due to the pandemic, there’s still hope they use some of that money to sign solid outfielders and hitters like Micheal Brantley or Robbie Grossman to try to fill their holes there. 

 It’s always disappointing to lose a talented player like Hand for nothing, but with all the positives that come with this move, no Indians fans should be kicking themselves over this move come 2021.  

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Dudukovich, N. (2020, October 31). Cleveland Indians rumors: No trade partner for Brad Hand. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://factoryofsadness.co/2020/10/31/cleveland-indians-rumors-no-trade-partner-brad-hand/

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