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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Indians deal for ace reliever Brad Hand

The Indians have acquired All-Star closer Brad Hand and right-handed reliever Adam Cimber from the Padres for catcher Francisco Mejia, their top prospect and the No. 15 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline.

Hand and Cimber should help bolster a bullpen that ranks among the worst in baseball this season—Cleveland’s bullpen ERA of 5.28 is the second-highest in the Majors behind only Kansas City (5.45)—for a club with championship aspirations. When the Indians reached the World Series in 2016, their relievers owned a 3.45 mark, which was fourth-best in MLB and second in the American League.

Mejia, 22, joins a Padres farm system that ranks as one of the best in the sport. He has appeared in 12 games in the Majors over the last two seasons. He’s hitting .279/.328/.426 with seven homers in 336 plate appearances for Triple-A Columbus.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 12:29 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: indians, padres, trades

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   1. TomH Posted: July 19, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5712611)
It is not hard to envision a scenario where Hand becomes a hero. What would the narrative be if
- Cleve goes 43-26 (give or take) in the 2nd half, with a fine W-L record in 1-run games
- Indians have the 2nd best ERA in the 2nd half (to Houston)
* led by complete turnaround of Cleve bullpen from terrible to excellent
* Hand and Miller make an awesome pair, saving 9x% of their opportunities, and Hand's ERA is in the ones.
- Hand shines in a few post-season moments, and the Indians advance to the WS

Narratives often build around a turning point, giving someone outsized credit, and many times it is the guy who is either a clubhouse sparkplug who plays well, or a trade pickup who plays well. I say there is a >2% chance that little old Brad Hand has a fine (not monstrous, just fine) 2nd half and generates at least a mention on someone's MVP ballot
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5712623)
- Hand shines in a few post-season moments, and the Indians advance to the WS

Really this is all that's required. The Indians are winning the division. Hand and Cimber are there for Oct.
   3. Zonk is One Individual Posted: July 19, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5712624)
Wow... miss a little, miss a lot. I knew the Indians had lost a few relievers since 2016, but I had no idea the bullpen had fallen so far, so fast. I sorta, kinda vaguely knew Miller was hurt - but figured there was still Cody Allen and a fairly strong cast left.

But yeesh - when I saw this pop up my thoughts were a mix of "Jeebus, why?!?!" and "Damn, the rich bullpen gets even richer".
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5712635)
Wow... miss a little, miss a lot. I knew the Indians had lost a few relievers since 2016, but I had no idea the bullpen had fallen so far, so fast. I sorta, kinda vaguely knew Miller was hurt - but figured there was still Cody Allen and a fairly strong cast left.

Yeah, it's a tire fire. Only 53.1 of the 257.1 innings thrown by their bullpen have been thrown by relievers with an ERA+ >100.

Bullpen has a 5.28 ERA and is allowing a 121 OPS+.
   5. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5712646)
Even with Hand signed for a few more years, I think this trade continues the trend upwards on the price of rental relievers.
   6. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5712650)
I asked the Indians to interview him but they just said I should talk to the hand. How rude.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5712651)
Even with Hand signed for a few more years, I think this trade continues the trend upwards on the price of rental relievers.

Hand has three more seasons under contract after this one, and Cimber is a rookie (though already 28). If we assume the Mejia = Torres, roughly, then the Indians are getting a lot more pitching for the price.
   8. Rusty Priske Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5712673)
This is a steal for the Padres.

Which doesn't make it a bad deal for Cleveland.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:52 PM (#5712685)
This is a steal for the Padres.


If Mejia sticks at C. The Indians didn't seem sold on him as a C.
   10. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 03:15 PM (#5712705)
Aloha, Mr. Hand.
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 03:28 PM (#5712712)
Still seems weird to me that the Indians are treating Gomes and Perez like some kind of immovable roadblock to Mejia, rather than a mediocre veteran and a standard glove-first backup, but it's their team.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5712721)
Still seems weird to me that the Indians are treating Gomes and Perez like some kind of immovable roadblock to Mejia, rather than a mediocre veteran and a standard glove-first backup, but it's their team.

Agree. It only makes sense if they think Mejia is a terrible defensive C.
   13. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5712723)
11: I sort of agree, though it makes a ton more sense if they've determined that Mejia's glove won't play behind the plate. He's got a cannon for an arm, by all accounts, but I haven't seen him enough to have an opinion about his other defensive tools. Conventional wisdom is that he's okay back there, but I haven't heard raves about anything other than his arm.

If he can't catch in the majors, he becomes a much less attractive prospect. He doesn't have huge power, so he's going to need to get on base a bunch and hit a truckload of gappers to be a star 1B/LF/RF.
   14. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 19, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5712724)
Wow... miss a little, miss a lot. I knew the Indians had lost a few relievers since 2016, but I had no idea the bullpen had fallen so far, so fast. I sorta, kinda vaguely knew Miller was hurt - but figured there was still Cody Allen and a fairly strong cast left.


The Rockies would be happy to give them back Bryan Shaw and his 7.23 ERA.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5712729)
The Rockies would be happy to give them back Bryan Shaw and his 7.23 ERA.

Well, they can give him back, but they have to keep the 7.23, that's already in the books :-)
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 19, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5712737)
Even with Hand signed for a few more years, I think this trade continues the trend upwards on the price of rental relievers.
So maybe Torres for Chapman wasn't so terrible?
Hand has three more seasons under contract after this one, and Cimber is a rookie (though already 28). If we assume the Mejia = Torres, roughly, then the Indians are getting a lot more pitching for the price.
Nope, it was so terrible.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: July 19, 2018 at 06:07 PM (#5712772)
Not to defend Theo but Hand is not in Chapman's league. Chapman's career FIP is 1.92, Hand's conveniently is 3.92 and he's never had a seasonal FIP below 3. He's certainly a solid reliever and obviously the years of control is the key here, but based on past performance, he's no savior.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 06:12 PM (#5712773)
(17) They don't need a savior, they need literally anyone who can get some outs in relief. They got two pretty good ones.
   19. spycake Posted: July 19, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5712776)
Not to defend Theo but Hand is not in Chapman's league. Chapman's career FIP is 1.92, Hand's conveniently is 3.92 and he's never had a seasonal FIP below 3.


Hand has a career 3.15 FIP in the pen, though. Still no Chapman, but better than 3.92 implies. Hand has also been deployed for more than 1 inning in the past.
   20. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 19, 2018 at 06:29 PM (#5712777)
Plus, no less of an authority than Jerry Seinfeld has recognized that "“We all want the Hand. Hand is tough to get. You gotta get the Hand from the opening.”
   21. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: July 19, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5712779)
George: But I've got hand!

Girlfriend: And you're gonna need it...
   22. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: July 19, 2018 at 09:42 PM (#5712897)
BRAD HAND FACT:

According to BB-ref, he has been a below replacement player this year.
   23. spycake Posted: July 19, 2018 at 10:47 PM (#5712960)
According to BB-ref, he has been a below replacement player this year.


Interesting. Hand does have 6 UER this year which means his RA9 is a lot worse than his ERA. Plus B-Ref says the Padre defense has improved... but also that Petco is playing more neutral...

His FIP/xFIP are still the same though, so Fangraphs has him posting a typical WAR season.
   24. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:05 PM (#5712967)
It is not hard to envision a scenario where Hand becomes a hero.

It is also not hard to envision a scenario where Hand gives Cleveland 25 innings with an ERA above 6.00. Outside of the very elite, relievers are hard to predict, especially over 2-3 months. Hand has been very good in the San Diego bullpen, but his stats are not particularly eye-opening in this era -- even the 13.2 K/9, astounding a few years ago, is "just" 10th in the majors (minimum 40 IP).

Justin Wilson last year is an interesting comp. He had a 2.68 ERA/3.23 FIP, 0.94 WHIP, 12.3 K/9 and 3.4 K/BB, 1.6 bWAR in 40.1 innings with the Tigers. Then after changing leagues he had a 5.09 ERA/3.72 FIP, 2.09 WHIP, 12.7 K/9 and 1.32 K/BB, -0.1 bWAR in 17.2 innings with the Cubs. He was supposed to solidify the Cubs' pen but he didn't. (But this year he's back to being pretty good.)

For comparison, Hand is at 3.05 ERA/3.17 FIP, 1.08 WHIP, 13.2 K/9 and 4.33 K/BB, -0.1(?) bWAR in 44.1 innings this season. For Cleveland's sake, let's hope he doesn't have a Justin Wilson second half.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:05 AM (#5712984)
They don't need a savior, they need literally anyone who can get some outs in relief. They got two pretty good ones.

Sure but you usually don't give up a top-20 prospect for those kinds of guys. And Cimber? He's 27 and has 48 ML innings under his belt -- we don't have a clue whether he can get some outs in relief. He only struck out 7.1/9 in 72 innings of AAA relief (mostly) after K'ing only 6.1/9 in 125 innings of AA relief.
   26. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: July 20, 2018 at 08:48 AM (#5713004)
According to BB-ref, he has been a below replacement player this year.

Brad in the Hand has tallied 0.7 WAR by Fangraphs this year. Which makes him worth at least two of Matt in the Bush.
   27. Stevey Posted: July 20, 2018 at 09:01 AM (#5713006)
It only makes sense if they think Mejia is a terrible defensive C.


I think less this and more his makeup. This is a very tight lipped org to begin with, but they definitely won’t throw players under the bus. And they’ve spent the last two years doing exactly that with Mejia. Including a bunch of bullshit about how he won’t take the major league RF job. They say they wanted him to take the RF job this year, and have given him only 25 minor league starts at the position. He’s still caught more games this year in AAA than he’s played RF.
   28. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: July 20, 2018 at 09:42 AM (#5713013)
Brad in the Hand has tallied 0.7 WAR by Fangraphs this year. Which makes him worth at least two of Matt in the Bush.


Bravo
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5713017)
Sure but you usually don't give up a top-20 prospect for those kinds of guys. And Cimber? He's 27 and has 48 ML innings under his belt -- we don't have a clue whether he can get some outs in relief. He only struck out 7.1/9 in 72 innings of AAA relief (mostly) after K'ing only 6.1/9 in 125 innings of AA relief.

But clearly they're not valuing him as a top-20 prospects, otherwise he'd be starting at C in Cleveland.
   30. spycake Posted: July 20, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5713039)
Interesting to recall that Cleveland previously agreed to trade Mejia for Lucroy 2 years ago, in the midst of Mejia's breakout 2016 season, before Lucroy vetoed it with his no-trade clause. Of course, Cleveland had a pretty good team that year, were also adding Miller to the pen, and had just lost Yan Gomes to injury in mid-July.
   31. spycake Posted: July 20, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5713041)
And Cimber? He's 27 and has 48 ML innings under his belt -- we don't have a clue whether he can get some outs in relief. He only struck out 7.1/9 in 72 innings of AAA relief (mostly) after K'ing only 6.1/9 in 125 innings of AA relief.


Cimber is an interesting submariner, and it sounds like he could be effectively deployed as "righty specialist". An article from Fangraphs on him:

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/adam-cimber-is-an-outlier-of-outliers/
   32. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5713061)
I think less this and more his makeup. This is a very tight lipped org to begin with, but they definitely won’t throw players under the bus. And they’ve spent the last two years doing exactly that with Mejia. Including a bunch of bullshit about how he won’t take the major league RF job. They say they wanted him to take the RF job this year, and have given him only 25 minor league starts at the position. He’s still caught more games this year in AAA than he’s played RF.
Yep. There have been "makeup" rumblings about Mejia for years, and it seems like between the bullpen dumpster fire, the disagreement about whether he'll play the outfield, and his bat quietly coming back down to earth, they decided this was the time to move him on. Tito just doesn't call players out in public, so his comments about Mejia and RF speak volumes.

As I said in the Dugout yesterday, I wish Mejia well and I hope he goes out and crushes NL pitching. But I understand why they did this.
   33. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5713091)
Dang, San Diego originally picked up Hand off the waiver wire too. Is any other team even close to as good as they’ve been over the last decade at discovering great relievers off the scrap heap?
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5713093)
Is any other team even close to as good as they’ve been over the last decade at discovering great relievers off the scrap heap?

How much does their home park play into this?
   35. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5713110)
Probably a lot. But just looking at the last few years of Padre bullpens, we have:

Dale Thayer: 226 innings, 3.19 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 8 K/9 (2012-2015) (signed with Padres as minor league free agent at age 31)

Ryan Buchter: 101 innings, 2.93 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 11 K/9. (released by Dodgers in 2015, signed with Padres as MILB FA at age 29)

Brad Hand: 213 innings, 2.66 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 11.8 K/9 (released by Marlins in 2015, Padres picked up off waiver wire)

Kirby Yates: 93 innings, 2.80 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 13 K/9. (released by Angels in 2017, Padres picked up off waiver wire)
   36. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 20, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5713187)
Ah yes Dale Thayer, the guy with the name and facial hair of a player from 1986.
   37. bfan Posted: July 20, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5713212)
Probably a lot. But just looking at the last few years of Padre bullpens, we have:

Dale Thayer: 226 innings, 3.19 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 8 K/9 (2012-2015) (signed with Padres as minor league free agent at age 31)

Ryan Buchter: 101 innings, 2.93 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 11 K/9. (released by Dodgers in 2015, signed with Padres as MILB FA at age 29)

Brad Hand: 213 innings, 2.66 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 11.8 K/9 (released by Marlins in 2015, Padres picked up off waiver wire)

Kirby Yates: 93 innings, 2.80 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 13 K/9. (released by Angels in 2017, Padres picked up off waiver wire)


Exhibit "A" to the notion that the mark of a good GM is one who can build a bull-pen for cheap (in the full context of MLB budgets) amounts. Now the problem is that a lot of people would tell you that the Padres GM is not good, for other reasons.
   38. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5713214)

Ah yes Dale Thayer, the guy with the name and facial hair of a player from 1986.


You mean the 'random sorta tall guy that you would never notice if you were sitting at a lower class bar with' look? Is he a loading dock fork lift operator? 2nd man in charge on a 5 man residential construction crew? Professional athlete that makes millions of dollars a year?

I'd like to think I'd recognize a Red Sock if they were next to me, but someone like Heath Hembree? No chance.
   39. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 20, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5713221)
I think I know the names of maybe 5% of relievers these days, let alone being able to recognize them out of uniform. Outside of some of the Cubs RPs, maybe Kimbrel? That's about it.
   40. HOLLA(R) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 08:42 PM (#5713366)
I'm still confused about Cleveland trading for James Hoyt but leaving him in AAA. His underlying stuff was awesome last year.

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