The San Diego Padres have had an uncharacteristically strong offseason, and that continued on Saturday. Rather than let another team scoop him up or acquire him via trade, as they may have done in seasons past, the Padres reached an agreement on a three-year extension with star closer Brad Hand. As reported by Ken Rosenthal, the deal includes an option for a fourth year.
LH reliever Brad Hand in agreement with #Padres on three-year extension with club option for fourth year, sources tell The Athletic. Guarantee believed to be $18M-$20M range. Deal covers final two arb years and at least one free-agent year. Option is for second free-agent year.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 13, 2018
Padres Extend Brad Hand
One has to give the Padres a hand for this deal, and for sticking with their new direction. The young closer will certainly have a hand in the team’s growth. By shaking Hand’s hand on this deal, they’ve handed themselves an important late-game advantage as their team matures over the next few seasons. Fans can now rest assured that the ninth inning will remain in sure hands. The Padres have revealed their hand to be committed to the future.
The 27-year-old lefty began his Major League career with the then-Florida Marlins in 2011, but never really found his groove with the Fish. Following the 2015 season, he made the move to San Diego and immediately turned his career around.
In his first season on the West Coast, had tossed 89.1 stellar innings as the Padres primary setup man. He notched 21 holds, one save, and 111 strikeouts. He finished with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
In 2017, Hand transitioned into the ninth inning, and responded with his best campaign to date. He pitched 10 fewer innings than he did in 2016, but racked up 21 saves and 16 holds. He reduced his walk total from 36 in 2016 to 20 in 2017 and while his strikeouts fell to 104, his K/BB ratio still improved from 3.08 to 5.20. By the time the season ended, Hand boasted a 2.16 ERA and a sparkling 0.93 WHIP.
While the Padres may not pose a serious threat to claim the NL West crown in 2018, they’re trending in the right direction. They could compete with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies for the second spot, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the first time in a while, the Padres are trending in the right direction.