The Indians have acquired All-Star closer Brad Hand and right-handed reliever Adam Cimber from the Padres for catcher Francisco Mejia, their top prospect and the No. 15 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline.
Hand and Cimber should help bolster a bullpen that ranks among the worst in baseball this season -- Cleveland's bullpen ERA of 5.28 is the second-highest in the Majors behind only Kansas City (5.45) -- for a club with championship aspirations. When the Indians reached the World Series in 2016, their relievers owned a 3.45 mark, which was fourth-best in MLB and second in the American League.
Mejia, 22, joins a Padres farm system that ranks as one of the best in the sport. He has appeared in 12 games in the Majors over the last two seasons. He's hitting .279/.328/.426 with seven homers in 336 plate appearances for Triple-A Columbus.
MLB-best 9 Top 100 prospects. This gives them 10
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
The Indians already have an established closer on their roster in right-hander Cody Allen, but he's taken a step back in 2018 with a 4.66 ERA.
In his third season since the Padres acquired him off waivers from the Marlins, Hand has a 3.05 ERA with 24 saves in 41 appearances. He was named National League reliever of the Month in May, but has scuffled a bit since, blowing three saves and allowing nine earned runs in 16 innings (5.06 ERA).
In his two-plus seasons with San Diego, Hand leads all MLB relievers with 213 innings pitched, and his 3.3 WAR (per FanGraphs) in that time is 11th among all relievers. Thanks to a vicious slider, Hand's 32.5 percent strikeout rate since the start of 2016 ranks 12th among relievers, ahead of the likes of Allen and Sean Doolittle.
As the Padres' lone representative in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, Hand retired all three of the AL sluggers he faced -- Yan GomesMichael Brantley and Jed Lowrie.
Hand, 28, signed a three-year extension in January that pays him $3.5 million for 2018, $6.5 million next year, and $7 million in 2020. The deal also has a $10 million club option (with a $1 million buyout) for 2021.
The acquisition is similar to when the Indians got Andrew Miller from the Yankees before the 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline while he still had 2 1/2 years remaining on his contract. As with Hand, they traded outfielder Clint Frazier, then their No. 1 prospect, for an elite left-handed reliever in Miller with multiple years of team control.
Miller and Allen are eligible for free agency this winter.
Cimber, 27, made his big league debut for the Padres this season and has a 3.17 ERA through 42 relief appearances. A side-arming righty, he has limited right-handed hitters to a measly .482 OPS.
Chad Thornburg/

Comments are closed.