If Brad Hand is Dealt, What are the Closing Options for the Padres?

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If indeed Brad Hand is dealt soon, the open market seems the likely place to find a replacement.

Luckily for the Padres, there are several closers that are available and free to sign with anyone.

Each will likely be in high-demand, but the Padres offer something not every club can offer… a chance to close. They also have money to spend for the 2018 season and could pay fair market value to the right pitcher.

Playoff teams will be pillaging the free agent market in search of former closers to act as their 7th and 8th inning guys. However, these players crave the opportunity to pitch with the game on the line. When push comes to shove, they will take the opportunity to close if it comes their way.

The Padres will be looking to sign a free agent reliever, boost his value tremendously, and then potentially flip him at or before the deadline. They could very well do this with a couple of relievers, as A.J. Preller knows the trade market and understands that the value of closers and relievers increases in August and July. It is an awesome strategy and a great way to further build this developing farm system by selecting key prospects from others.

Free Agent Market

Addison Reed

The former SDSU Aztec could be a decent choice for the team. He is 29, and coming off a productive year in 2017 in which he went 2-3 with a 2.84 ERA in 76 innings pitched. He also recorded 19 saves with the Mets before being dealt to the Red Sox and used as a setup man. He made $7.75 million last year and will likely command somewhere near that in a multi-year deal. He has been fairly reliable in his career as he owns a 3.40 career ERA and 125 saves. Reed has served as closer for the White Sox, Diamonbacks, and Mets in his seven-year career. The Padres will probably flirt with the right-handed reliever.

Steve Cishek

This right-handed pitcher is not a traditional closer by any stretch of the imagination, but he does have value. His funky right-handed motion is very useful to playoff teams, and the Padres could very well employee him with the idea of flipping him. Cishek was 3-2 last year with a 2.01 ERA and a 0.896 WHIP in 49 games and 44 innings pitched. He saved one game in 2017, but does have a past in the role. In 2013 and 2014, he closed out 39 and 34 games for the Marlins. His 121 career saves is very respectable. The 32-year-old Cishek could be an interesting option. He made $6 million last year and will make around the same for 2018.

Credit: AP Photo

Huston Street

This former Padre closer is an interesting option. He has been plagued by injuries the last two seasons. A knee injury, shoulder injury, and back injury limited him to just 30 games since he signed a two-year/$18 million dollar contract after the 2015 season, when he recorded 40 saves with a 3.18 ERA. The good news is that Street is only 34 and should still have some gas left in the tank. He has plenty of experience closing, with 324 career saves (including 80 with the Padres), and will be looking for an incentive-based contract. If the Padres do their homework on his health, and like what they see, he could be an excellent buy-low candidate for the team.

Brandon Morrow

If the Padres are feeling nostalgic, they can throw some money at Brandon Morrow and turn him into a closer. He showed, in the 2017 playoffs, that he has what it takes to get the job done (if he is not asked to pitch every game) in a closer’s role. His stuff was electric last season, as he seems to have finally found his role in the back-end of the pen. Morrow has always had a great arm, but constant nagging injuries have been an issue. He made the Dodgers last year with an excellent spring and should be looking to cash in on a season where he went 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA and a 0-916 WHIP. The Padres will be wary, but should have some interest.

Bud Norris

A decent option could be Bud Norris, who spent some time with the Padres in 2015. Last season, in his first opportunity to close, Norris saved 19 games for the Angels. He was 2-6 with a 4.21 ERA and struck out 74 batters in 62 innings. He was unable to keep the job the whole season, as some injuries hit him late in the year. He will be at full strength in 2018 and should get a job with some major league team. Norris as a closer is a bit of a stretch, but for the right price, he could be a feasible option for the Friars.

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