Cleveland, already first in their division, has upgraded their roster’s weakest spot by acquiring closer Brad Hand.
Can confirm: Indians getting LHP Brad Hand and RHP Adam Cimber from Padres for C Francisco Mejia
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 19, 2018
The Indians are a great team, but have one of the worst bullpens in baseball. Their 5.28 reliever ERA this season ranks 29th out of 30 in MLB, which is shocking considering last year they led the league in bullpen ERA at 2.89.
Hand has been one of the best closers in baseball over the last 3 years since joining the Padres. In 213 innings work, he’s posted a 2.66 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, and 11.8 K/9. His ERA ranks 2nd among all relievers with at least 200 innings pitched in that span. While the lefties numbers have been slightly worse this season compared to years past, there shouldn’t be too much concern in Cleveland as his 3.05 ERA and 3.17 FIP are great figures.
Perhaps going unnoticed by most everyone in this trade is reliever Adam Cimber who will also be leaving San Diego for Cleveland. Cimber is a 27 year old RHP pitching for the first time at the big league level. He owns a stunning 3.17 ERA, 2.32 FIP, and 5.1 K/BB. A deal for just Hand or Cimber would have been good for the Indians, but getting both should mean serious improvements for the Indians bullpen.
Brad Hand: $7M next year, $7.5M in '20, $10M team option for '21
Adam Cimber is a rookie, so Indians have him under control through at least 2023
Boosts the team's Achilles heel this year, and provides insurance for if/when Cody Allen and Andrew Miller walk this winter.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) July 19, 2018
In return, San Diego made sure they were made whole for giving up such talented relievers. They acquired Cleveland’s number 1 prospect, the 15th best in baseball, Francisco Mejia. Mejia is a talented catcher at heart, but has also been working on his ability to play in the OF and at 3B. He’s batted a modest .279/.328/.466 this season in the minors, but has batted at least .300 with double digit homeruns in each of the past 2 seasons.
This is adding just adding to an already stacked farm system, ranked the best in baseball. On most teams, Mejia would come in the number 1 prospect, but for San Diego he falls in at 3.
#Padres already had an @MLB-best 9 Top 💯 prospects. This gives them 10: https://t.co/TuTZgd5PTS
3. Fernando Tatis Jr
13. MacKenzie Gore
15. Francisco Mejia
29. Luis Urias
32. Cal Quantrill
33. Michel Baez
42. Adrian Morejon
75. Anderson Espinoza
95. Chris Paddack
97. Logan Allen
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 19, 2018
For me, Cleveland wins the trade simply because of their demand for relievers. Cleveland still owns 3 prospects in the MLB top 100, so they didn’t have to kill their farm system to get 2 much-needed arms. San Diego doesn’t have as much of a strong demand for prospects, but they certainly didn’t do harm in snagging Mejia.