Brad Hand is pitching out of his mind right now.
His value is at an all-time high, and with that, the trade talk has already begun. With his ability to close out games, or pitch out of the setup position, he has tremendous worth. The Padres sole representative in the 2017 MLB All-Star game is a near lock to be dealt, and the clock is ticking.
Hold on, Padre fans. Don’t be upset. Don’t get all bent out of shape. This is a good thing.
In re-hauling a major league franchise, there are tough moments that a front office and its fan base must make it through. The rebuilding years themselves are rough on a fan base, as the major league talent is hardly serviceable or even watchable for that matter. Then there is the fact that players (if any) on the major league roster with value, will surely be shopped for yet more prospects. It’s a seemingly endless cycle, that Padre fans have sadly been witnesses of firsthand, for a long while.
But this regime has promised to put an end to the madness. All these stockpiled young players are supposedly here to stay, and if they are dealt, it will only be done so to improve the team, and not to save a buck. Only time will tell, and the naysayers have every right to be skeptical, as this franchise has constantly battered its fan base.
If your hand causes you to stumble, you cut it off. Brad Hand has extremely high value right now. He will surely be dealt by the team. Losing Brad Hand will be difficult, but this team is built for the long haul. Whether its the Nationals, Astros, Red Sox, or whomever, the Padres shall receive a decent haul of prospects in return for the services of the left-handed pitcher.
Keeping Brad Hand would only cause the future of this team to be in further jeopardy. He has value now. Players like Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross once had value and the team chose not to capitalize on it. If there is one thing you learn in watching the game of baseball, it’s that things run in cycles. If you have a chance to learn from your mistakes, you do it. Cashner and Ross were thankfully not extended long-term, but neither fetched anything close to what the Padres could have gotten for the formerly prized right-handed hurlers.
Hand is only 27 years old and not due for free agency until 2020. He has put up solid numbers since becoming a Padre, and really turned the corner under the tutelage of Darren Balsley and Doug Bochtler. The lefty has gone 5-8 with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.060 WHIP in 121 games with three saves, in one and a half years of service time in San Diego. In his 133 innings, he has recorded 164 strikeouts and has shown that his slider is a dominant pitch. His value is at its pinnacle.
Can he become more dominant? Sure. But the odds are against that, and the wise choice would be to deal him while he has suitors.
With the ability to record strikeouts against virtually any hitter, Hand is hardly a left-handed specialist. He can get batters out from both sides of the plate, and early reports are the Padres are asking a lot for his services. A.J. Preller has every right to shoot for the stars and he has many additional pieces to add to get a mega-deal done. The San Diego Padres will be active in the trade market in the next few weeks. Pay close attention. More excellent young prospects are on their way. Dealing Brad Hand hurts, but the future of the team weighs out and no player means more than that.