According to multiple reports this afternoon, the Washington Nationals have dealt closer Brad Hand to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for 25-year-old catcher Riley Adams, a 2017 third round pick by the Jays who made his MLB debut earlier this season.
The team has now made the deal official.
Here’s some info on Adams vs the Nationals:
“Adams, 25, is considered the best power hitter in Toronto’s Minor League system according to Baseball America and is the №17 prospect in the Blue Jays’ organization according to MLBPipeline.com. He joins the Nationals organization after hitting .239 with six doubles, one triple, seven homers, 17 RBI, 16 walks and 20 runs scored in 35 games for Triple-A East Buffalo.
“The 6-foot-4, 246-pound righty has hit .262 with a .363 on-base percentage and a .419 slugging percentage in 286 games across four professional seasons (2017–21). He’s recorded 66 doubles, five triples, 28 home runs, 146 RBI, 130 walks, eight stolen bases and 153 runs scored. He was a Florida State League All-Star in 2018 and 2019 and a Northwest League All-Star in 2017.
Hand, 31, signed a 1-year/$10.5M free agent deal with the Nationals this winter, and over 41 games this season, the 11-year veteran has saved 21 games in 26 opportunities, with a 3.59 ERA, 18 walks, 42 Ks, and a .203/.302/.353 line against in 42 2⁄3 IP.
Hand blew back-to-back save opportunities earlier this week in games against Baltimore and Philadelphia, but bounced back with his 21st save in Tuesday night’s game before the Nationals had all sorts of drama break out with multiple positive COVID test in the lead-up to tomorrow afternoon’s trade deadline.
This afternoon, GM Mike Rizzo made the first deal, sending Hand to the Jays.
Asked yesterday, in an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies if there were any deals pending at the time, Rizzo said nothing was in the works, but things happen quickly at this point.
“I would say that we are not close to any trade right now, but we’ve got a lot of time before that,” he explained.
“This is a deadline business, this trade deadline thing is all about the deadline and these smart GMs often don’t give their best bullet until later on in the process.”
As he added at another point though, with the results thus far, anyone on expiring deals, like Hand, had to be considered available.
“We’re certainly going to be sellers,” Rizzo said, “and open-minded about all players that have a contract that ends this season. We won’t have those players with us next season anyways.”
Hand talked after the save on Tuesday night about knowing that changes could come for the Nationals this year, after a disappointing season for the club to this point.
“Yeah, I mean, I think we’re all professionals,” Hand said. “I mean, we show up to a ballpark trying to win a ballgame today. What happens at the end of the day is out of our control. All we can do is try to win a ballgame today, and try not to think about it. I think for me, I don’t really think about it, I’ve been traded before, so whatever happens at the end of the day, it’s out of my [hands], so just go out there and try to win the ballgame today and that’s the kind of attitude that we have.”
So long, Mr. Hand. Welcome to D.C., Riley Adams: