SF Giants: Brad Hand is the perfect trade deadline target
By Kyle Foster
The SF Giants have been a surprise to many this season. However, even the most obvious contenders have flaws that need to be addressed during the season. For the Giants, their biggest issue this season has been the bullpen’s shakiness. While the regular season is less than 45% complete, the Giants pen has already blown 14 saves and cost the team countless victories. Luckily, there are plenty of candidates that could be available around the MLB trade deadline. One of those options is Brad Hand.
Hand is currently on a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals, which makes him an obvious trade candidate on a floundering team. Of course, the Nats are currently in fourth place in the National League East with a 30-35 record. Already 7.0 games back of the first-place New York Mets, it’s easy to see Washington selling at the deadline. Furthermore, Hand has $6.5 million in deferred money to be paid out on January 15th of 2022, 2023, and 2024. Nationals ownership could easily be incentivized to pressure the front office into parting with their southpaw closer.
The nice thing about Hand is that he is very familiar with the National League West since he spent two and half seasons in San Diego from 2016-2018. During that time, he was also the Padres closer. Ideally, he could take over the closer role for the Giants if they acquired him. This season, Hand has posted a 2.96 ERA and has struck out 27 batters in 27.1 innings pitched.
While a left-handed thrower, Hand’s biggest asset is the fact that he has always been able to get righties and lefties out throughout his career. Right-handed batters are hitting just .211 against him this season. Lefties have hit just .190 against him. With the three batter minimum, this is something that makes him an even better option for late-game relief.
The 31-year-old closer has amassed 119 career saves and already has 13 this season with the Nationals. All these numbers are great, but the Giants are also going to have to make a reasonable deal. That being said, they shouldn’t have to sacrifice too much given the fact that Hand is only on a one-year deal and while effective in 2021, has been far from the dominant reliever he once was. It seems like a pair of mid-level prospects, perhaps someone who could immediately contribute to the big-league roster, could get the job done.
Jaylin Davis could be a fit to deal away here. The Nationals only have Juan Soto and Victor Robles in the outfield going forward. Robles has not been the best hitter since getting into the league. Meanwhile, the Giants have a plethora of outfield talent without any room to put them going forward. Following the emergence of LaMonte Wade Jr. and Steven Duggar, which will make it harder for Davis to see time with the Giants, it might be easier to part with someone like Davis. If the Giants would prefer to deal from their lower minor-league ranks, someone like Blake Rivera, who is an intriguing starting pitching prospect, but has not pitched in 2021, likely due to an undisclosed injury, could be a riskier piece that could intrigue the Nationals front office.
In the postseason, games are won by the bullpen. For that reason, the SF Giants pen needs a helping hand this season. Brad Hand would be the perfect pitcher to get at the deadline to help manager Gabe Kapler hold onto tight leads.