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Hand waived, O’Day option declined

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Two quality relievers with affordable 2021 options were cut loose today

Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians have placed relief pitcher Brad Hand on outright waivers, it has been reported today, and the Atlanta Braves have declined their 2021 option on Darren O’Day, making him a free agent.

The moves don’t bode well for players hitting the free agent market. Hand, a 30 year old left hander, led the majors in saves and games finished in 2020, putting up a 2.05 ERA and 1.37 FIP. Since 2016, Hand has a 2.70 ERA and 2.92 FIP in 320 innings pitched. Normally, his $10 million team option for 2021, which has a $1 million buyout, would be a no-brained to pick up.

And yet, apparently, Cleveland was spooked by the idea of exercising the option on Hand. One would think that they would at least exercise the option and try to trade him, as they did last year with Corey Kluber, but with the pandemic and on the heels of a shortened season, the Indians apparently preferred to put Hand on waivers and hope someone would claim him, saving him the $1 million buyout

As for the former Ranger O’Day, the Braves declined his $3.5 million club option for 2021, instead paying the $250,000 buyout he is owed, making him a free agent. He had a 1.10 ERA and 2.76 FIP, as well as making five appearances for Atlanta in the playoffs, and one would think that the option at that price would be an easy decision to exercise. Apparently, Atlanta disagreed.