Sometimes, under-the-radar moves are some of the best moves professional teams make. When the Padres claimed lefty reliever Brad Hand off of waivers from the Marlins in April of 2016, it is unlikely they envisioned he would become one of the better relievers in the game over the course of two seasons.
Since the beginning of 2016, however, Hand has produced a 2.82 ERA and an 11.1 K/9 and now the Padres may be looking to cash in. According to Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports, San Diego is asking for an “Aroldis Chapman-like” package for the reliever.
While this will not happen, it is easy to see why the asking price is high. After appearing in a league high 82 games last season, Hand has continued his excellent work out of the bullpen this season, appearing in 37 games, tossing 41 and 2/3 innings with a 2.59 ERA. He has struck out 51 batters and walked just 12.
While Hand’s numbers speak for themselves, the most intriguing part for teams interested in acquiring the lefty is that he is under team control through 2019 and won’t be a free agent until 2020. At age 27, he is entering the prime of his career and has finally found his form in San Diego, so any team looking to reinforce their bullpen for a run to the World Series will likely be calling the Padres in the next few weeks.
With the lack of impact relievers on the market, the Padres are able to ask for a nice package of prospects. With a struggling on-field product and in the midst of a true rebuild, impact prospects will be the asking price. While they will likely not receive a prospect like Gleybar Torres like Aroldis Chapman fetched, the return should be of quality and will continue to build on an already strong San Diego farm system.