The San Diego Padres came to terms with Brand Hand and Brandon Maurer on Friday. The two late inning relievers will now return for 2017.
Baseball’s offseason has hit the home stretch, as the time has come for clubs to make their final moves to improve their rosters.
For general manager A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres, the top priority for the remainder of January will be solidifying the pitching staff. On Friday, they took a step towards doing this by bringing back Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer for 2017.
Hand was quite possibly the most underrated player on the roster in 2016, quietly posting a 2.92 ERA over 82 appearances. A one-year contract will ensure that the southpaw will once again occupy a very important role in the bullpen.
As a versatile matchup reliever, the 26-year-old will have the trust of manager Andy Green to be placed in any situation, including tense moments of the eighth and ninth innings.
Maurer enters spring training as the favorite to take on the role of closer. However, the 26-year-old struggled in the same role a year ago, finishing with an 0-5 record and an ERA of 4.52.
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If the Newport Beach native were to be moved to a set up relief position, he would still provide bullpen depth, a critical component to the organization. Hand could compete for the closer role, and may even have an upper hand as a left-hander. The Padres could also close by committee, a bullpen strategy gaining momentum. Whatever the case, bringing back this pair of San Diego’s top relievers is one of the more productive moves the front office has made this offseason.
Both players were arbitration eligible, and will be at the conclusion of 2017 as well. Both Hand and Maurer will officially become free agents in 2020.
The Padres also confirmed the extensions of Christian Friedrich and Carter Capps, transactions which were previously reported. These contracts, like those of Hand and Maurer, will expire after the 2017 season.