All-Star set up man, Brad Hand, has been rumored to have drawn interest from over 15 teams looking to trade, but does he hold the most trade value in the Padres’ bullpen? The most important pieces of a contending teams are usually their bullpen arms. More specifically the closer is one of, if not, the most important asset to top contenders looking for help.
So far this season, Hand holds a 2.25 ERA with 61 strikeouts and a 0.97 WHIP in 48 innings of work. He has only allowed 12 earned runs and 13 walks against 19 batters faced. This is the reason why half of the league has called asking A.J. Preller about his availability and what the Padres would be looking for in return.
Hand’s most effective pitch is the slider in which he’s drawn 68 whiffs and allowed just 10 hits (seven singles) in 86 at-bats. Batters are batting .116 (10 hits, 337 pitches) against his slider, .250 (10 hits, 193 pitches) against his four-seam, and .333 (14 hits, 174 pitches), and .000 (o hits, 37 pitches) against his change-up. It’s these stats that the lefty Brad Hand is drawing comparisons to lefties like Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
This is where we shift over to Brandon Maurer and what he brings to the table in terms of trade value. The closer has a three pitch set up that he has been using this season; the four-seam fastball, change-up, and a slider. Maurer is throwing his four-seam at a career high average 96.3 mph. His change-up dips down 84.5 mph and his slider deeps even lower at 83.02 mph. However, when he needs to get it going, Maurer has topped his fastball out at 99.6 mph, his slider at 97.5, and even his change-up has gotten up to 90 mph.
Brandon Maurer possesses a lowly 5.30 ERA and a 1-4 record. However, he has converted 19 saves in 21 opportunities. Despite his plus-5 ERA, Maurer has only given up 12 runs in 37.1 innings pitched, which isn’t that far off of Hand’s numbers. Maurer also holds a 37:7 strike out-to-walk ratio. Maurer is in his second year in the ‘pen and in his first full season with the major league closing role, yet he has adapted to it quite well. At just 27 years old, Maurer is arbitration-eligible in 2018 and isn’t free agent-eligible until 2020.
Now, let’s get to the trade value talk. When you look at the numbers, it may seem pretty obvious who holds more value, that being the recent MLB All-Star Brad Hand. BUT, availability to teams also plays a huge role in terms of trade value.
The Padres took a chance on Hand, picking him up off waivers from the Marlins, and that play has played off amazingly. At just 27 years and 119 days old, Hand could very well play a role in the Padres’ future should they not trade him.
— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) July 18, 2017
In fact, the Padres have already said that if the right deal doesn’t come to the table then they would be more than happy to keep Hand around.
Carter Capps is a serious contender for the closing role, coming up and hopefully being a part of this big league roster eventually. He was supposed to compete for the closing job this season before suffering setbacks in his recovery.
Knowing this, the Padres could be a lot more open to shipping Maurer away if Preller doesn’t get everything he wants for Brad Hand in a trade offer.
Hand does have experience as a closer, but Maurer has shown that he can be that guy to close the door on games. He’s done it to first place teams like the Cubs, Indians, and even the Nationals (who are desperately looking for a closer).
We saw last season that the Cubs made a huge move to acquire Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees. They could very well make the same play again this season.
We’ve seen A.J. Preller work his magic, so I wouldn’t doubt that he could get big returns from contenders for both guys. Just remember, the availability of Hand could be much lower than the availability to the very similar Maurer, and that could shift things when the teams get desperate at the deadline.