With the All-Star Break festivities concluded, MLB teams are gearing up for the second half of the season. With the trade deadline happening at the end of the month, the Cleveland Indians have already presented themselves as a team looking to buy players. Just today, the Indians have traded catcher Francisco Mejia to the San Diego Padres, receiving in return relief pitchers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber.
Brad Hand Traded to Cleveland Indians
When the Indians made their run to the World Series in 2016, they had one of the best bullpens in baseball. Getting Hand from the Padres once again makes the Indians have strong relief pitching. This season, Hand has a 3.05 ERA with 24 saves and 65 strikeouts against 15 walks in 41 outings (44 1/3 innings). He possesses a 35% strikeout rate, ranking him 11th amongst relievers in the MLB. During his time with the Padres, the relief pitcher had a 2.66 ERA with 280 strikeouts and 71 walks in 213 innings.
Adam Cimber is another solid pick up for Cleveland. This season with San Diego, he has posted 3.17 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 10 walks in 42 appearances (48 1/3 innings). Cimber is especially effective against right-handed hitters, limiting their hitting ability to a .482 OPS.
For the Padres, they receive one of the most promising catching prospects in baseball with Meija. Currently, at Triple-A Columbus, he has a batting average of .279, with a .755 OPS. Francisco has also been promoted briefly to the majors this year, hitting .455 with a 1.193 OPS in 24 games in June.
With the Indians star relief pitcher Andrew Miller still recovering from injury, having Hand and Cimber in the bullpen will strengthen their pitching as they prepare for the postseason. In addition, both of these players are under contract for a few more years, meaning they can have a sustainable bullpen for the future.
“That was really an important element of it,” said Chris Antonetti, Indians president of baseball operations. “We were seeking to not only impact this year’s team but to help better position us moving forward. We know we have some guys in our bullpen who are approaching the end of their contracts and we are going to have to remake our bullpen in some fashion for 2019. And this trade gives us two really good options.”
While it appears to be a foregone conclusion that Cleveland will win the AL Central, this is a solid move for a team looking to compete with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros for the American League crown.
Embed from Getty Images