The Mets are working to sign free agent reliever Brad Hand to a two-year contract, per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). A contract is not yet signed, however, and the two sides may not be particularly close to resolution, writes MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Rosenthal adds two other sources in concert with Feinsand’s assessment that the two sides are not as close to a deal as it was first reported.
Hand unwittingly became an emblematic figure for this winter’s free agency when the Indians surprisingly chose to waive him rather than bring him back on a one-year, $10MM deal. When none of the other 29 teams claimed Hand, despite the seemingly favorable terms of his one-year pact, the tenor for the winter was set. Interest has picked up in recent weeks for Hand, however, as the Astros, Blue Jays, and Dodgers all expressed at least some degree of interest along with the Mets, obviously, and the Red Sox, we learned today from Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com (via Twitter).
The White Sox have expressed interest in the past, though they would seem to be less likely to win the bidding for Hand after their pricey accord with Liam Hendriks. Hand would be an equally impactful signing for the Mets, should they ultimately get him. The Mets bullpen ranked 21st in the Majors last season with a 5.01 ERA, 16th by fielding independent pitching with a 4.46 FIP. That said, Hand would buoy any bullpen after a 2020 season with a 2.05 ERA/1.37 FIP over 22 innings with a 33.7 percent strikeout rate, 4.7 percent walk rate, and 26.5 percent groundball rate.