MLB

Mets sign recently released reliever Brad Hand in attempt to bolster bullpen

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The Mets have signed reliever Brad Hand, the team announced Thursday. Hand was acquired by the Blue Jays via trade just ahead of the trade deadline in late July, but pitched to a 7.27 ERA in 11 outings and was designated for assignment earlier this week. Since he’s been acquired after Aug. 31, Hand would be ineligible for the playoffs with the Mets, should they make a late surge. 

Hand, a 31-year-old lefty, has been one of the better relievers in baseball recently. He was an All-Star in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Last season for Cleveland, he led the majors with 16 saves while pitching to a 2.05 ERA with 20 strikeouts against just four walks in 22 innings. 

After the season, Cleveland surprisingly let him walk instead of picking up a relatively meager $10 million option. As it turns out, the move was prescient. Hand had a good first month, but from May 8-July 26, he blew five of his 22 save chances and pitched to a 4.83 ERA. He was worth the flier the Blue Jays took on him, but he looked pretty cooked through the month of August. 

On the plus side, his lost velocity in 2019 and 2020 has gone away and his sinker is more in the territory of 2017. It’s always possible a change of scenery benefits him, too. It really can’t hurt to try, if you’re in the Mets’ shoes. 

The Mets enter play Thursday trailing the Braves by five games in the NL East and the Reds by 5 1/2 games for the second NL wild card. Their late-inning reliever mix includes righties Edwin Díaz, Seth Lugo, Trevor May and Jeurys Familia. Hand being left-handed perhaps adds himself to the mix, eventually, but, again, only in the regular season. 



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