The New York Mets have several trustworthy relievers for the 2021 season. They signed Trevor May, who will join Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz to form a formidable trio at the back of the bullpen. They also have a number of bounce-back candidates that, if they pitch to the top of their abilities, can make the unit an elite one: Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman, and Dellin Betances fall in this category.
However, if they add one more reliable piece, manager Luis Rojas can rest easy knowing that he will have at least four top relievers for those tough outs at the end of games. Liam Hendriks, who was a New York Mets’ target, is now off the market after signing a lucrative three-year deal with the Chicago White Sox.
However, left-hander Brad Hand remains unsigned, and he is a fantastic fit for a Mets team that lost lefty Justin Wilson to free agency. As it turns out, and according to SNY’s Andy Martino, Hand remains in play for the Mets.
When the Cleveland Indians placed Hand on outright waivers near the end of 2020, no one wanted to claim the $10 million salary he was slated to make. Now, as a result of the Hendriks deal (he will make $39 million through the first three years and then there is a $15 million buyout on the option, which is also worth $15 million) Hand’s prospects of getting the two-year pact he desires just got bigger.
The Mets could be getting an elite reliever
The 30-year old has been an elite reliever for years and is still in his prime. In 23 2020 games, he pitched 22.0 innings of a 2.05 ERA and a 1.37 FIP, with a fantastic 33.7 K% and a minuscule 4.7 BB%.
Martino cites league sources when he says that “New York was one of several teams that was willing to sign Hand for one year and slightly less than the $10 million he would have made if claimed on waivers in October. All 30 clubs passed on the three-time All-Star at that price (at least during the waiver period), making him one of the top relievers available on the open market.”
“Hand is seeking a two-year deal, and has not yet found it. But many in the industry were surprised at the hefty salary that Hendriks commanded — a $54 million guarantee over three years, in a deal that includes a fourth year option or deferred buyout for the same money, he continued.
Martino explains that “one executive believed that the Hendriks deal would slow free agency because some agents were starting to show a willingness to lower prices. Now, a reliever like Hand might feel even more justified in seeking a multi-year deal. Perhaps Hendriksâ€™ good fortune will trickle down on some level to Hand.”
Hand blew the save in Game 2 of the Wild card series against the Yankees, but that shouldn’t stop the Mets, or any other team, from pursuing him. He was a perfect 16-for-16 in saves during the regular season.
Will the Mets make a high-profile relief pitching addition and bring Hand into the fold?