Indians Decline 2021 Option on Brad Hand

Brad Hand Likely to Find a New Home for 2021 Season

Thursday, the Cleveland Indians officially declined the 2021 option on reliever Brad Hand. First with the news was Zack Meisel on Twitter.

The move comes as a bit of a surprise considering the numbers that Hand posted during the 2020 campaign. The 30-year old reliever finished the regular season with a 2.05 ERA over 23 appearances or 22 innings of work. In that span, he recorded a K/9 rate of 11.9 and held opposing hitters to a .169 batting average. Combined with the All-Star season from starting pitcher Shane Bieber, Hand was a big reason why the Indians finished with a 35-25 record.

Additionally, his season could be broken down into two different parts. During the month of July, he posted a 15.43 ERA over the span of three games while allowing four earned runs. However, once the calendar turned to August he was very dominate. Over the remainder of the season, Hand allowed one earned run over 19 and two-thirds innings of work. That translated into a 0.47 ERA with 25 strikeouts.

What’s Next for Brad Hand

Now that Brad Hand knows his future likely isn’t with the Cleveland Indians, the attention turns towards where his next destination will be. Given his age and the numbers he posted last season, there should be a fair amount of interest from contending teams for his services. That’s especially true considering how he has handled the closer role over his big league career. 2020 marked his 10th season in Major League Baseball and over that span Hand has 105 saves in 128 save opportunities.

Some potential fits around the league include the: Miami Marlins who originally drafted him during the second round of the 2008 MLB Draft along with the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, and Minnesota Twins. The Twins would be especially intriguing considering that they play in the same division as the Indians. Regardless though, Hand would give Minnesota another late-inning option to pair with closer Taylor Rogers.

Final Thoughts

Assuming the Indians don’t reunite with Hand on a cheaper deal, this leaves the team with a big hole in the bullpen. The Indians have always been dominate in the pitching department. The Indians are focused on being a contender not only next year, but over the next few seasons. Hand would only help them accomplish that goal. For now, Cleveland will formulate a plan for the 2021 season without Hand in the mix. The team will look internally and outside the organization for more affordable options.

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