The Cleveland Indians have acquired relief pitchers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Francisco Mejia, per multiple reports on Twitter. Cleveland has fortified its shaky bullpen with two quality relief arms under control past 2018, though at a significant price.
The Indians bullpen has been an ongoing source of concern this season for the A.L. Central leaders, who have seen closer Cody Allen struggle (he has a 4.66 ERA on the year) and fireman Andrew Miller, a free agent after the season, deal with injuries (he’s currently on the d.l. with a 4.40 ERA). They were widely expected to make a big splash in the reliever market, and have been a team we have talked about being a potential match for the Texas Rangers, who have relievers, particularly Keone Kela and Jake Diekman, available. With this deal, Cleveland may still be in the reliever market, but this goes a long way towards alleviating their bullpen problem.
Hand, 28, is a lefty who has been one of the better relievers in baseball since being claimed on waivers by the Padres in the 2015-16 offseason. He has a 2.66 ERA and a 3.07 FIP in 213 innings over 195 games, and is under contract through 2020, with a team option for 2021. Cimber, meanwhile, is a righthanded rookie who has a 3.17 ERA and a 2.32 FIP in 48.1 IP this season.
The Indians paid a steep price for the upgrade, giving up Mejia, who is #5 on Keith Law’s midseason top 50 prospect list just released today, although Baseball America had him at #24 on their updated list. There’s some question as to whether he will stick at catcher or move to another position, but the bat is expected to play even if he has to go to a corner spot.
The Rangers will continue to shop their relievers, and there are two fewer good ones on the trade market now, but one of the teams most in need of an immediate bullpen upgrade would appear to no longer be as viable a trade partner as they were a day ago.