Twins Showing Interest in All-Star Lefty, Brad Hand
Brad Hand has been one of the best bullpen arms in baseball for most of the past six years. Since being moved to the bullpen full-time in 2016, Hand — an All-Star in three consecutive seasons from 2017-2019 — has posted a 2.89 ERA, 145 ERA+, 3.28 FIP and 11.2 SO/9 in 429.2 innings pitched.
Twins Interested in Brad Hand
At (almost) 33-years-old, the Chaska, MN high school graduate isn’t the dominant southpaw closer he once was while in San Diego or Cleveland (124 saves in 5 combined seasons), but the Twins desperately need a lefty they can trust in their bullpen and Hand is available.
On Monday, Darren “Doogie” Wolfson (KSTP, SKOR North) reported the Minnesota Twins’ interest in Hand, while also commenting on the plethora of capable relievers still left on the free agency market.
A reliever on the #MNTwins radar, I hear: Chaska high school alum Brad Hand. The 3-time All-Star spent last season with the Phillies. Slider his go-to pitch. Handful of capable relievers left on market. Twins weren’t really in on Fulmer or Chafin, FWIW. pic.twitter.com/tqeQsab989— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) February 13, 2023
There’s no doubt Doogie’s mention of the still-crowded free agent bullpen, which has a lot of good left-handed options remaining, signals a strict price cap the Twins are willing to pay for an aging bullpen arm whose numbers have fallen off in recent seasons.
Hand by the numbers
Hand, who has never eaten a lot of innings out of the bullpen, pitched 45 regular season innings for the Word Series champion Philadelphia Phillies in 2022 (5.1 IP in playoffs — including 2 shutout IP in WS).
He was much better early in the spring/summer than he was into the fall because his shoulder was breaking down. On September 25, the Phillies placed Hand on the 15-day injured list with “shoulder tendonitis”. The high-leverage lefty missed Philadelphia’s wildcard round victory over St. Louis, before he got the go-ahead to pitch in the NLDS vs Atlanta.
Hand’s FIP (4.31), SO/9 (8.1) and just 0.6 WAR in the past two seasons (101 innings) show his decline. But, Hand has a ton of playoff experience and, at 33 y/o, shouldn’t be over-the-hill physically.
Price must be right
Reading through the lines, the Twins seem excited to land a back-end veteran like Brad Hand to their roster, should he agree to a hometown discount. But if he’s looking for the biggest possible payday, they’ll be happy to find help elsewhere.
Which team could use another southpaw in the 'pen? pic.twitter.com/oprhhDfBIn— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 7, 2023
Minnesota Twins Spring Training opens on Wednesday (Feb. 15) when pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report. Their first game will take place on Feb. 25 vs the Tampa Bay Rays but spring training games will not be broadcast on Bally Sports North until March 18.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan