Washington Nationals: Padres Brad Hand trade target

rjuckett
May 17, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Brad Hand (52) pitches during the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
May 17, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Brad Hand (52) pitches during the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

In search of bolstering their bullpen, the Washington Nationals are interested in Brad Hand. How does the lefty from San Diego stack up?

The Washington Nationals are taking a long look at San Diego Padres lefty reliever Brad Hand.

Reported on ESPN.com over the weekend, Hand would give the Nats another solid left-handed option out of the pen and someone who can set up games for current closer Koda Glover.

The converted starter pitched in a National League-high 82 games last year and is on pace for similar numbers in 2017. Although Hand has an 0-3 record in 25 games, his ERA is 1.82, the WHIP is a tidy 0.944 and his Fielding Independent ERA is 2.86. For a win-starved team like the Padres, he is a steady influence.

More from District on Deck

Drafted by the then Florida Marlins in the second round of the 2008 draft, Hand transitioned from a starter to utility pitcher with little success. In two full seasons with Miami, in 2014-15, he allowed a lot of hits without striking out many. Posting a 9.1 H/9 with a 5.9 K/9 rate with the Marlins overall ended his time in South Florida.

San Diego picked Hand up on waivers in April 2016 and the transformation into a legitimate bullpen threat was instant. The hits-per-9 dropped to 6.3 while the strikeouts-per-9 jumped to 11.2. This year, those numbers are 5.2 and 11.5 respectively.

You can understand why the Nats want to play this hand.

Although Washington has two left-handers in the pen, Enny Romero and Oliver Perez, along with an injured Sammy Solis, none match Hand’s production. Romero throws triple-digits but has little control. At 35, Perez can give you a needed inning, but his shutdown stuff is gone.

Solis is at least two weeks away from returning and pitched poorly before inflaming his pitching elbow.

Romero has tremendous raw talent but, as the Nats play the long October game, rattles easily and has yet to harness his skills. Hand mixes a slider and a 94-mph fastball together for results. In 459 pitches this year, 61 percent are strikes.

A trade for hand will not fix the closer need if there still is one. Instead, a potential deal gives the Nats a pitcher who can mix and match with Blake Treinen for the seventh and eighth inning. Under team control through 2020, he is not a payroll buster.

But, San Diego will want prospects and general manager A.J. Preller has a history of trading pitchers with non-documented injuries. Two red flags for any possible deal.

Next: Bench must step up

Still, if Solis struggles upon his return, a reliable lefty reliever is needed. Depending on the price, Hand gives the Nats what they need.

facebooktwitterreddit