The Padres have been connected to Brewers left-hander Josh Hader for some time now. He makes sense on multiple fronts. He’s quickly growing too expensive for Milwaukee, a franchise that could look to re-tool its farm system and San Diego has the prospect capital to pull it off.
But let’s say AJ Preller can’t – or won’t – pay up for Hader, one of the premier lefty relievers in the game today. Where then will San Diego turn? Good news is there are several pending free agents who could be had on the cheap, rather than going all-out for a controllable bullpen piece like Hader.
Let’s dive in.
The first name on the list? A left-hander and familiar face that could have been a fit here in San Diego before he inked a one-year deal, $10.5 million deal with the Nationals. Cleveland non-tendered Brad Hand out of the blue last fall, despite his recent dominance. Now, he’s looking to anchor the Washington pen in 2021.
Since 2016, Hand has been lights-out, making 306 appearances, finishing off 165 contests and amassing 104 saves. His 2.70 ERA and 2.92 FIP check in as well above-average and given he’s heading into his age-31 season, he’s got plenty left in the tank.
Given he’s on a one-year deal, the cost shouldn’t be too staggering for someone like Hand. If Washington isn’t in the hunt, they could look to re-tool and take another crack at it in 2022. A quick flip of this southpaw veteran would check that box and give the Padres a lights-out lefty in the late innings.