The Mets have interest in free-agent left-hander Brad Hand, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. As Heyman notes, Mets team president Sandy Alderson said back in November the club may have been interested in claiming Hand off waivers had Cleveland parted with the reliever at a different time.
Not only did it come as a surprise that Cleveland let go of Hand, who was due a $10MM team option for 2021, but it was an eye-opener that nobody placed a claim on him. After all, the 30-year-old is a three-time All-Star who remained one of baseball’s most effective relievers a season ago. While Hand’s average fastball did drop from 92.7 mph to 91.4, he still recorded a 2.05 ERA with a 33.7 percent strikeout rate and a 4.7 percent walk rate over 22 innings. Hand also converted all 16 of his save opportunities.
Because nobody claimed him, Hand has been sitting on the open market for roughly two full months. He’s one of the premier relievers available, though, and the fit in New York is obvious. The Mets already spent a good amount of money on their bullpen earlier this offseason when they signed Trevor May to a two-year, $15.5MM contract, but doing so added another right-hander to a righty-heavy group. The Mets don’t have an established southpaw in their relief corps, so picking up Hand would give the team’s bullpen some balance.