Ranking Potential Free Agent Signings for the Astros Headed Into Spring Training
4) Brad Hand
A familiar face from the World Series and a long-rumored Astros target, Hand could make sense in Houston. Hand was one of the elite relievers in the game from 2016-2020, before a major dip in 2021.
Hand strung together a strong 2022 in Philadelphia, posting 2.80 ERA in 55 innings. His 26.9% hard hit rate was the second lowest of his career. The Astros have made a living recently with relievers that possess devastating sliders. He'd be the latest in a long list of Houston relievers with wipeout sweepers. Hand recorded a .214 xBA and .297 xSLG on his slider in 2022.
He may carry a semi-hefty price tag, but if the Hand of 2016-2020 shows up, what is already the best bullpen in baseball becomes even more unhittable. If not, he's an upgrade over Will Smith that can eat innings in the regular season with a still better than league average ERA.