Count the White Sox and Dodgers among the suitors for closer Brad Hand, per MLB Insider Jon Heyman (Twitter links). Along with the Blue Jays and Mets, Hand now has a decent cadre of clubs interested in his services.
The price point for Hand’s eventual contract figures to be of unique interest after all 30 clubs surprisingly passed on claiming his one-year, $10MM option. As MLBTR’s Connor Byrne wrote just yesterday, “…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.”
The White Sox make for a natural suitor as they continue to wrench open their window of contention. They know Hand well from his time in their division, and incumbent closer Alex Colomé is also a free agent. Tony La Russa’s club is well-stocked in southpaws with fast-rising rookie Garrett Crochet coming off a very impressive initial Major League showing, as well as Aaron Bummer, who might be the premier wormkiller in the game. Jace Fry has also been a productive southpaw for the ChiSox with a 4.07 FIP, 29.6 percent strikeout rate, 13.7 percent walk rate, and 51.2 percent groundball rate over the past three seasons. To add Hand to that group may seem gluttonous, but slotting him in as the closer would allow Chicago to continue to use Fry and Bummer situationally while protecting Crochet’s usage.
The Dodgers have secured quite a bit of help in their bullpen recently with the signing of Tommy Kahnle and the re-signing of Blake Treinen. Of course, Kahnle is unlikely to pitch much – if at all – in 2021, and Treinen was part of the group last year. Besides, if there’s a question mark for the champs heading into the 2021 season, it centers on the longevity of incumbent closer Kenley Jansen. Hand would give the Dodgers a plethora of options in yet another facet of the ballgame.