A.J. Preller has been the subject of much ridicule in his brief tenure with the San Diego Padres. Between questionable trades and signings, the national media seems to have little faith in Preller’s future as a major league general manager. However, Preller has had success when it comes to some of his smaller, under-the-radar signings. Drew Pomeranz and Christian Friedrich may come to mind for some. Though, Brad Hand is another that has seen much improved numbers since joining The Padres and could potentially be someone who Preller moves at the upcoming deadline.
Hand, a left-handed relief pitcher, came to San Diego after he was acquired off waivers from the Miami Marlins in early April. Primarily used as a sport starter or long reliever with Miami, he never saw a great deal of success. He sported a 4.38 ERA in 2014 and a 5.30 ERA in 2015. With his numbers becoming increasingly more unimpressive, The Marlins thought best to designate him for assignment.
Hand would be signed by The Padres just a few days later and with the starting rotation being overly crowded at the time, it appeared that the best place for him ultimately was the bullpen. So far, it looks as though manager Andy Green and pitching coach Darren Balsley made the right choice.
Hand is putting up some of the best numbers of his career in 2016. His ERA is currently sitting at a respectable 3.57 and has consistently been a reliable arm out of The Padres bullpen. As of now, he is on pace to have more strikeouts and allow fewer runs than he did the previous two years as a Marlin.
The Padres have struggled mightily throughout the first half of the 2016 season. It’s common knowledge to General Managers and media members alike that The Padres are looking to ship out some of their older, proven talent for younger prospects. With the All-Star Game quickly approaching and The Padres sitting uncomfortably in last place, the time for has come for General Manager A.J. Preller to explore every option in order to ensure The Padres may have a successful future. While Brad Hand is probably not the name most teams have in mind when inquiring about available players, he absolutely holds significant value.
Hand could potentially be a pitcher that is a deciding factor of a trade that involves other higher profile players. In the event that Preller has a trade lined up but needs something to “sweeten” the deal, Hand may very well be that something. If not packaged with another, bigger name player, Hand could possibly bring back a young minor leaguer all by himself. If a contending team is in a position where they are in need of a left-handed bullpen piece, it would make sense for Preller to see what could be done.
A promising, Low-A prospect would be a realistic return for Hand based on his track record, though, it’s possible a team may completely buy in on his 2016 stats and overpay. However, If Hand can bring back any prospect at the deadline, Preller will assuredly explore the available options.