Astros: Left-handed relief pitchers to consider before trade deadline
By Brian Murray
Brad Hand: LH/RP – Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are on the bubble of getting into selling territory. Their chance of winning the AL Central Division is quickly slipping away as they are seven games behind the Twins. But they are still in the running for a Wild Card position. They could be a team to keep an eye on for trade partners as July winds down and the Wild Card race becomes clearer.
The intriguing relief pitcher that could be of help to Houston is Brad Hand. Jon Morosi of MLB.com suggests that as Cleveland’s chances at winning the division lessen, their willingness to trade a couple of their pitchers will increase and Hand was one of those pitchers named.
Hand was selected to participate in this year’s All-Star Game, his third straight appearance in the Summer Classic. He is tied for first in the League with 23 saves and has a commanding lead in games finished with 37.
He has pitched in 38 games totaling 36.1 innings of work. His ERA sits at a very respectable 2.23 along with a 211 ERA+. His strikeout per nine innings pitched ratio has climbed in each year of his career topping out this season at 13.4.
Hand has a very low ground ball rate inducing a lot of fly balls, when not striking out batters. But not to worry, very few of those ever make it over the fence. He’s allowed only two home runs this season giving him a 0.50 HR/9 rate. He is sitting at fourth in the Majors Leagues with a 1.5 WAR for relievers.
When looking at Hand’s results, the 29-year-old wouldn’t be the salary burden on the Astros you would expect. He has this season and next left on his three-year $19.75 million contract. He is due $6.5 million this season and $7 million next.