Tampa Bay Rays: Trade Options for the Bullpen
Brad Hand – San Diego Padres
After years of trying to turn Brad Hand into a starter, he finally found a home in the bullpen with the San Diego Padres.
In his first full season in the bullpen in 2016, Hand was a revelation. He appeared in a National League best 82 games, posting a 2.92 ERA and a 1.108 WHiP, striking out 111 batters against 36 walks in 89.2 innings. While he was solid against right handed hitters, Hand dominated lefties, holding them to a .125/.221/.200 batting line.
As good as Hand was last year, he has been even better this season. Thus far, he has posted a stellar 2.84 ERA and a 1.079 WHiP, striking out 48 batters against 12 walks in 38 innings. Although he has not had the same level of success against lefties, as they have a .205/.327/.409 batting line against him, he has been much tougher on righties this season.
Currently, the Tampa Bay Rays have just one left handed reliever in Jose Alvarado in the bullpen. Danny Farquhar has served as a default second lefty, but has struggled this season. In fact, the Rays have struggled to find that sixth and seventh reliever all season, but having just the one lefty puts a great deal of pressure on Alvarado. Acquiring a pitcher like Hand, who can shut down both sides of the plate, would be a tremendous boost in the late innings.
Brad Hand has become a top setup man for the Padres. As they continue their rebuild, he could be a perfect piece to put on the block, and could be quite the asset for the Rays bullpen.