Padres trade Brad Hand to Cleveland for Francisco Mejia

Cleveland Indians' Francisco Mejia flies out to right field against the New York Yankees during the second inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 14, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) ORG XMIT: OHRS115

Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America

The Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres agreed to a trade involving left-handed relief pitcher Brad Hand on July 19, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Rosenthal tweeted that Brad Hand and right-handed relief pitcher Adam Cimber both are headed to Cleveland, who has been looking to improve their bullpen ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. In return, the Padres acquired Francisco Mejia.

Hand had a 3.01 ERA and a 3.17 FIP for the Padres in 2018. His last appearance in a Padres uniform was at the 2018 MLB All-Star Game at Nationals Park on July 17. He retired three batters without allowing a hit for the second straight time in the MLB All-Star Game. He did the same last season.

Hand has a 13.2 K/9 this season and has been a reliable closer for the Padres since last season. He took over the closer role after Brandon Maurer was traded to the Kansas City Royals. He was acquired from Miami from the Padres in 2016.

Cimber made his major league in 2018 and has been a quality right-handed reliever for the Padres. He has a 3.17 ERA and a 2.32 FIP in 48.1 innings. He’s best known for his unique pitching style. He points his lead foot toward centerfield and has a submarine throwing style.

Mejia is the Indians’ No. 1 prospect and the No. 15 prospect in Major League Baseball. He is primarily a catcher, but can also play in the outfield and at third base. Third base is a place of need for the Padres.

Mejia had a .279/.328/.426 triple-slash line with Triple-A Columbus before being traded to the Padres. He had a .755 OPS and a 110 wRC+. He has had all of 18 plate appearances at the major league level since 2017. It hasn’t yet been announced if he will begin his tenure with the Padres at the major league level, or at Triple-A El Paso. Dennis Lin, who covers the Padres for The Athletic, tweeted on July 19 that the Padres plan to keep Mejia at catcher. That leaves questions concerning Austin Hedges, who has struggled offensively since being called up to the majors.

Lin also tweeted that Hedges is still the Padres’ starting catcher for now. Lin said that Mejia is still developing, though he could make things interesting relatively soon. He will play catcher at Triple-A El Paso, but the Padres like that he has played in the outfield, Lin said.

Trading a dominant relief pitcher for a top prospect is but another step in general manager AJ Preller’s rebuild. The trade is perfect for both clubs. The Indians receive some much-needed help in their bullpen, something they will need if they reach the postseason. The Padres receive a potent bat to add their to their lineup. San Diego’s offense has been, for lack of a better word, underachieving in 2018.

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Mike Ursery
Mike is the sports editor for the Fayette Advertiser, and has been with East Village Times since 2015. His work has appeared on Bleacher Report. He is an avid Padres fan who is keeping the faith and trusting the process.

1 thought on “Padres trade Brad Hand to Cleveland for Francisco Mejia

  1. Certainly Mejia is a well regarded prospect, and I have read Preller calling him “on the doorstep”. So far so good. I wonder about him defensively though. A catching prospect rarely sees much time at any other position unless the organization has doubts about his skills behind the dish. It is preferable for a catcher to be good with the glove first, and learn to hit as time advances, as opposed to the other way around. Then there is the word that Mejia is resistant to making a position switch. Hmm.
    Multiple choice:
    A) Mejia becomes the primary catcher, the club giving up on Hedges ever being able to hit, though being a fantastic, glove-first backup.
    B) SD sees Mejia as a 3Bman. If so it fills a position of need.
    C) Club plans to use Mejia in some kind of a combo role, C-3B-corner OF.
    D) Preller has no real idea of where he’ll play, and will try to figure it out later.

    It’s true that Mejia has intriguing potential with the bat, but this acquisition continues a Preller trend of disregarding defense. This roster is already crammed with poor defenders. Let us hope he hasn’t just added another.
    Correct answer is D.

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