After all, you can never have enough relief pitching, and it’s especially desirable to have a reliable lefty in the bullpen.
Expectations were high for Hand when he arrived in Toronto, mostly because pitched to a 3.59 ERA over 41 appearances with the Washington Nationals before being traded.
Unfortunately, his time with the Blue Jays did not work out at all.
The 31-year-old was DFA’d by Toronto on Tuesday after spending just a month with the team.
The #BlueJays have designated Brad Hand for assignment.
— MLB News Network (@newsnetworkmlb) August 31, 2021
He posted a miserable 7.27 ERA, 7.55 FIP, and 1.85 WHIP across 11 outings, and he racked up a -0.6 WAR along the way.
On the bright side, he figures to land on his feet.
There will surely be a few teams willing to take a chance on him for the remainder of the season.
Who could those teams be?
3. Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are battling for their playoff lives right now, and their mediocre bullpen could be their downfall.
The Phillies rank 21st in all of baseball in bullpen ERA (4.52).
While the staff does have some reliable options, depth is a concern.
At the very least, Hand could help solve that problem.
Although his stint with the Jays was a disaster, he has a solid track record.
He’s a three-time All-Star for a reason.
The veteran has a career 3.70 ERA, 3.78 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP.
Just last season, he led the league in saves and posted a 2.05 ERA.
Is it crazy to think he could get back there?
2. Boston Red Sox
Right now, the Boston Red Sox just need arms.
The team is currently being ravaged by COVID-19, and three of Boston’s top relievers are out of commission because of it.
But even when those players return, the Red Sox will still have bullpen concerns.
Barnes hasn’t been himself lately (15.88 ERA over his last 10 outings), and setup man Adam Ottavino has had an inconsistent August (6.23 ERA over his last 14 outings).
The Sox lack quality bullpen depth, and Hand would an interesting experiment.
Can Brad Hand really be worse than the August 2021 Red Sox bullpen?
— Sam Federman (0-0, 75-87, ERod xFIP: 3.49) (@PowerHourSam) August 31, 2021
Why not try it?
1. Cincinnati Reds
Considering the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen situation, it’s a miracle that the team is even alive in the playoff race.
The Reds have the third-worst bullpen ERA (5.15) in all of baseball.
They have very few—if any—reliable relief arms, and the situation is even more grim now that Tejay Antone is set to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Antone’s 2.14 ERA was the best in the bullpen among players with at least 20 appearances.
Six players have made at least 30 relief appearances for the Reds this season, and here’s how those guys have performed (note that not all of these players are still on the roster):
- Heath Hembree: 6.38 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 1.21 WHIP
- Sean Doolittle: 4.46 ERA, 4.54 FIP, 1.51 WHIP
- Amir Garrett: 6.44 ERA, 5.42 FIP, 1.73 WHIP
- Lucas Sims: 5.35 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 1.27 WHIP
- Ryan Hendrix: 5.97 ERA, 5.85 FIP, 1.55 WHIP
- Brad Brach: 5.59 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 1.48 WHIP
Could things get any worse in this department?
The Reds have a real chance at cracking the postseason, but if they don’t, it’ll be because of their bullpen.
They might as well give Hand a chance.