Well, that’s it. The MLB trade deadline has passed, and Brad Hand is still wearing a Padres uniform. Hand was the team’s hottest commodity this July, as the reliever’s dominant 2.00 ERA and impressive 0.963 WHIP would be an asset to any team in the playoff hunt. And what would be even better for a team acquiring Hand is his paltry $1.38 million salary this year.
But that’s also why A.J. Preller is reluctant to let him go. Hand’s salary is so low because he was plucked out of a dumpster, given the classic Darren Balsley restoration job, and he still has two more years left
on the warranty until he’s a free agent. In a buyer’s market like MLB saw this year, Preller can afford to hold onto his investment a little longer. Hand could get moved in the winter, or even next July when the market might be willing to pay a little more for an ace reliever.
Now with Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer gone, Hand will be the big man in the bullpen. There’s no word yet on who, if anyone, will be the team’s official closer, but expect to see the All Star share time with Kirby Yates and Phil Maton in high leverage situations through the end of the season.