How about a back end of the bullpen led by Will Harris, Daniel Hudson, and Brad Hand? It’s apparently going to be a thing in D.C. in 2021. Now throw in Ryne Harper, Wander Suero, Kyle Finnegan, Tanner Rainey, Sam Clay, and others and you have the makings of a strong bullpen mix, as Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga noted in a tweet reacting to the news tonight that the Nationals and Hand have agreed to what is reportedly a 1-year/$10.5M free agent deal.
This might be the best Nats' bullpen headed into a season since the old Clip-and-Save days. Hand, Harris, Rainey, Finnegan, Hudson, etc. https://t.co/eIm5Bnk9Kh— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) January 25, 2021
Hand, 30, was placed on and cleared waivers earlier this winter, with no teams biting on the left-hander and the $10M club option for 2021 included in his 3-year/$19.75M contract, and the club then declined Hand’s ‘21 option, and instead bought him out for $1M, making him a free agent.
The #Nationals and all 30 teams passed on LHP Brad Hand on 1 yr $10m dollar deal. #Nationals admit $500,000 mistake by inking him to 1yr $10.5m contract agreement. Alot of teams missed the boat on this one. #perplexing— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) January 25, 2021
In the 60-game 2020 campaign, Hand put up a 2.05 ERA, a 1.37 FIP, four walks (1.64 BB/9), and 29 Ks (11.86 K/9) in 22 games and 23 innings pitched, earning 16 saves in 16 chances, and holding opposing hitters to a combined .169/.226/.260 line, (with a .125/.222/.125 line against vs LHPs, and a .174/.227/.275 line against vs RHPs).
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez was asked earlier this month if the club needed to bolster their bullpen corps after addressing their lineup needs by acquiring both Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber to hit in the middle of the order.
“We’re constantly talking about different things,” Martinez told MLBNR hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette. “We signed a young player early, Sam Clay, a left-handed pitcher who has a lot of upside, I can’t wait to see him compete in Spring Training. We’ve got a couple young guys that we feel are knocking on our door that can help our bullpen a lot.
“[GM] Mike [Rizzo] is always looking to make us better, we’re constantly talking, there’s so many available relievers and players, good players still out there, so I like where we’re going, I like where we’re headed. Just because things have been a little slow doesn’t mean something won’t click and a player will come up.
“But we’re always looking to get better, but I like where we’re at right now, and like I said, I’m looking forward to getting to Spring Training and start working with these guys and get them ready for the season.”
Since he spoke in that interview, the Nationals have reportedly signed left-handed starter Jon Lester and now inked Hand, strengthening a strength in front office parlance, as they look to compete in a sure-to-be competitive NL East.
What do you think of the Nationals’ latest roster addition? How about that back end of the bullpen if Harris, Hand, and Hudson are healthy? Someone get on that triple-h merch (but avoid the obvious copyright issues with the WWE, please).
Did Rizzo shocking the baseball world again surprise you as well? And hey, Hudson doesn’t have to close anymore since he’s said he doesn’t really like it...
Closer Brad Hand and the Washington Nationals are in agreement on a one-year, $10.5 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 25, 2021
Hand winds up with more than his option and will be the Nationals’ new closer.