San Diego Padres All-Star reliever, Brad Hand, has cemented his place among the elite relief pitchers in the National League. Now is the time for GM A.J. Preller to trade Hand, while his stock is at its highest.
Brad Hand has become one of the top relievers in baseball since being claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres in April 2016. Hand, originally with the Miami Marlins, began his career as a promising left-handed starter. Over his first five seasons, Hand went from being a full-time starter to a relief pitcher.
Just before the beginning of the 2016 season, the Marlins cut Hand. He was claimed by the San Diego Padres a few days later. Brad Hand instantly became a fixture in the Padres bullpen. Brad Hand made a league-leading 82 appearances in 2016, pitching to a 2.92 ERA. His 1.10 WHIP and 11.2 K/9 were among the top in the NL.
Coming into the 2017 season, the San Diego Padres knew they had a gem in Hand and expected another big year out of him. Brad Hand did not disappoint them. Hand put up phenomenal numbers, while also being named to his first All-Star team. His 2.16 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 11.8 K/9 were all career highs.
San Diego Padres had the opportunity to trade Brad Hand last year but didn’t
At the trade deadline last season, San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller received a ton of calls about his All-Star reliever Brad Hand. Most around MLB figured Hand was surely going to be moved.
In a shocker, Preller decided to keep Brad Hand. The gamble paid off, as Hand increased his value immensely with a spectacular August and even better September.
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Now as the Padres are set to begin Spring Training 2018, Brad Hand’s stock has never been higher.
It’s entirely possible his value will never be higher than it is right now. Which is why the San Diego Padres should explore the possibility of moving Hand ASAP.
Trading Brad Hand, and possibly one of the extra infielders they currently have, for either a haul of prospects or a combination of prospects and MLB-ready talent, could set this franchise’s already-top-tier farm system into hyperdrive.
San Diego Padres should trade Brad Hand & Cory Spangenberg
In theory, the treasure trove of talent that, say, Brad Hand and Cory Spangenberg would bring back in a package deal would set this team up for years to come. A team like the New York Mets, who are desperately looking for a left-handed shutdown reliever and another infielder, would be an ideal trade partner for the San Diego Padres.
The Friars could desperately use some more starting pitching depth, which is something the Mets have in spades. The Mets also need a solid, cheap infielder to play either second or third base. If the Mets were willing to part with Steven Matz, Robert Gsellman, or Zack Wheeler, along with prospects, this could make a deal beneficial for both teams.
Let’s take a look at what a possible trade could look like:
Let’s review the San Diego Padres return
Zack Wheeler, when healthy, has the potential to be a number two starter in just about any rotation in baseball. At the low end, he’ll become a third or fourth-in-the-rotation type of pitcher. There is no doubt that Wheeler’s ceiling is still very high.
The Mets can afford to part ways with Dom Smith. Their first-round draft pick in 2014, Smith is expendable with the signing of Adrian Gonzalez and the development of prospect Peter Alonso. Smith could fit into the Padres plans for the future well. His glove and bat are both considered to be strengths.
Justin Dunn was the Mets top pick in the 2016 draft. While struggling at Single-A last season, the Mets decided to give him a shot in the bullpen. While the jury is still out on Dunn, there is certainly a ton of potential there as a starter or as a reliever.
Whatever the San Diego Padres choose to do as the 2018 MLB season draws nearer, one thing is perfectly clear. GM A.J. Preller has a lot of options. Options are a great thing for a young team in the process of a major rebuild. Let’s hope Preller plays his cards correctly.