The Cleveland Indians completely revamped their struggling bullpen this morning by trading for some much-needed relief help.
The Tribe has acquired All-Star reliever Brad Hand in return for catching prospect Francisco Mejia. In the trade, Cleveland will receive reliever Adam Cimber from the San Diego Padres as well.
Despite having six All-Stars, the Indians are only nine games above the .500 mark. Their bullpen is second-to-last in the league with a combined ERA of 5.28. Last season, Cleveland’s bullpen has the best ERA in the entire MLB.
During the offseason, the Tribe lost relievers Joe Smith and Bryan Shaw. Dan Otero and Andrew Miller have both had underwhelming seasons and Miller has spend significant time on the disabled list. The additions of Hand and Cimber will help the cause and help the Indians seek out another World Series birth.
Hand, a 28-year-old lefty, has a 3.05 ERA and has struck out 65 batters in only 48 innings. He also has a career-high 24 saves this season. Hand is a two-time MLB All-Star and was the ace reliever for the Padres.
Cimber is 27 years old and playing in his first season in the majors. He’s been impressive with a 3.17 ERA and 58 strikeouts. He’s not just a throw in piece and will certainly help the Tribe make a push as well.
Mejia, 22, has spent the majority of this season in AAA Columbus. He bats .279 with seven home runs and 45 RBI.
The addition of Hand helps the Tribe this year, but he also gives the Indians some breathing room for the future. He is under team control for three years with a club option in 2021. Cimber will also be under the control of the Indians for years to come.
While some fans cringe at the thought of giving up the top prospect, this move means the Cleveland Indians are still in “win now mode.” With six All-Stars, and the addition of a seventh, the goal for the Tribe remains a World Series championship.
Skipper Terry Francona now has seven All-Stars to work with and a brand new bullpen to construct.
There’s only one thing left to do in Cleveland.
Win the whole thing.
Nick Pedone, who is smiling ear-to-ear because the Indians finally made a move, can be reached on his Twitter @NickPedone12.