Could the Cleveland Indians be Suitors for Brad Hand?

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: Getty Images

As the calendar turns to July, trade rumors begin to heat up, and the trade season is officially upon us. Undoubtedly the San Diego Padres will be at the forefront of said rumors all the way through the trade deadline.

The Padres’ most coveted trade asset and spoken about player has been Brad Hand. Ever since being claimed off of waivers from the Marlins in 2016, Hand has been nothing short of spectacular for the Padres, including posting a 3.05 ERA and nearly 13 K/9, while converting on 24 of his 28 save opportunities, which ranks him second in the NL.

While the Padres have said that they will not trade Hand unless the value is there, he is far and away the Padres’ best chance of acquiring a young Top 100 Prospect who can positively impact the future. As a result, general manager A.J. Preller has been keeping a steadily high price on Hand, in the hopes that a team would be willing to sell off some of their future for one of the premier closers in the game.

One team that keeps popping up in trade rumors has been the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians are currently leading their division by 11.5 games and are seemingly the only club in the AL Central who isn’t rebuilding. However, Cleveland’s bullpen has been shaky this year with the loss of Bryan Shaw to the Rockies, combined with the general ineffectiveness of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. If they were to add Brad Hand, they could be serious World Series contenders, simply because of how dominant their offense and starting pitching are.

Should the Indians have a strong desire to bolster their bullpen, the Padres would likely ask for one (or more) of Cleveland’s top prospects, with Francisco Mejia being the likely request. Mejia is Cleveland’s No. 1 prospect, and is ranked as the No. 15 prospect in all of baseball, including being ranked as the No. 1 catching prospect. Mejia profiles as a corner outfielder once he reaches the big leagues, but his bat is able to play anywhere, which is why he is so strongly coveted.

It’s also important to note that the Indians have been very reluctant to call Mejia up to the MLB, since he is absolutely raking at Triple-A and the Indians would really have nothing to lose in at least giving him a cup of coffee, with their division title basically locked up.

Therefore, it’s certainly possible that the Indians are prepared to trade Mejia for the right price, if a deal comes along. Still, teams don’t just give away their top prospect just to do it, and it would likely take more than just Brad Hand if the Padres were to acquire Mejia. A deal involving Hand and another bullpen piece (Kirby Yates or Craig Stammen) might get the job done, with a potential deal involving two Padres relievers, Mejia, and a throw-in prospect from the Indians (most likely a young player that could have high upside).

If the Padres have the chance to trade Brad Hand in exchange for Francisco Mejia, it could be a good time to pull the trigger. Hand has been stellar this year, but the Padres have proved time and time again that they are more than capable of turning “scrap heap” relievers into dominant bullpen pieces, such as Hand and Yates. Couple that with the fact that the Padres have a multitude of potentially solid relievers on the way, to go with their already stacked bullpen (Matt Strahm, Adam Cimber and Jose Castillo to name a few) and it seems to make sense to unload at least one reliever at the deadline, possibly more.

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5 thoughts on “Could the Cleveland Indians be Suitors for Brad Hand?

  1. First off AJ should be asking for the moon on Brad. They don’t need to trade him unless someone is willing to in a sense overpay. He isn’t on par with the elite lefties but he’s close and is the top lefty that can be had at this deadline. The 3.5 years of control at well below market rate make Brads value on the scale of an elite lefty. In one of the MLBTR chats when Herrera was dealt, Jeff Todd said Yates would get more value than Herrera cause he was cheaper and wasn’t a rental. Whereas Stammen would get less. To package Hand and Yates to get Mejia + is selling short on both.

    Bieber has made 5 starts in the majors and is 4 and 0.. it might be easier to get Mckensie but either would be worth making the move. Jones is one level lower than Hudson Potts and is essentially the same player. There could definitely be a fit here but there could also be with a half dozen other teams.

    Mejia would be a good get but that would signal the end of the Hedges experiment and based on Andy’s comment after the game on Thurs they aren’t there yet. It would also make a player like Austin Allen expendable as a piece to package instead of sending your two best assets in one deal. Torrens, Campusano, and Hunt would still leave them with depth at the position.

    1. If Mejia can handle 3rd, his acquisition wouldn’t affect Hedges, although it would affect Potts down the road if he continues to hit. Having “too many” good players at a certain position is something the Padres have never had, let’s cross that bridge when we get there. Having good prospects to trade to put the Padres over the top, is a good thing, not bad.

      And I agree, getting McKenzie would/should be easier than acquiring Beiber, but if the Padres are trading Hand and Yates, the return should the Indians.

  2. Hand/Yates for Mejia/Beiber or Hand/Stammen for Mejia/Jones would be what I would push for if I were Preller and Co.. Either way, the Padres have either found their 3rd baseman of the present/very near future or a replacement for the offensively challenged Hedges in Mejia, plus a pitcher who could slide right into the rotation or another good prospect to add to the farm system.

  3. Totally agree with you. Personally, I wouldn’t have any problems with trading Hand + Yates in order to get Mejia and a lower level prospect. The Padres desperately need guys that can hit. If not Mejia, then maybe Alvarez from the Astros. I hope Preller doesn’t get too greedy — if the Indians are willing to deal Mejia, he should do whatever’s necessary to get the deal done.

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