Cleveland Indians bolster bullpen by getting Brad Hand


The Cleveland Indians bolstered their struggling bullpen on Thursday with the acquisition of San Diego Padres closer Brad Hand.

The Padres will also send reliever Adam Cimber to Cleveland and will receive highly touted catching prospect Francisco Mejia.

The Indians lead the AL Central by 7½ games, but their bullpen is second-to-last in the league in ERA at 5.28. Last season, Cleveland had the best bullpen ERA in baseball.

The Indians lost relievers Joe Smith and Bryan Shaw to free agency, but the holdovers have struggled as well. Closer Cody Allen‘s ERA was 2.94 last season but is 4.66 this season. Andrew Miller has gone from 1.44 to 4.40 and has spent time on the disabled list. Dan Otero‘s ERA has skyrocketed from 2.85 to 5.60.

Hand, a 28-year-old left-hander, has a 2-4 record with a 3.05 ERA and a career-high 24 saves this season. He has struck out 65 batters in only 44 1/3 innings. He is a two-time All-Star.

Cimber is 27 years old but in his first season in the big leagues. He has impressed with a 3.17 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings.

Hand not only helps this year but offers Cleveland security into the future. He signed a three-year, $19.75 million extension in 2018 that has a club option for 2021, whereas Allen and Miller are free agents next season. Cimber will also be under team control for a number of years.

Mejia, 22, has spent the bulk of this season at Triple-A, batting .279 with seven homers and 45 RBIs. He played one game with the Indians this season. ESPN’s Keith Law ranks him as the No. 5 prospect in baseball.

San Diego now has three of baseball’s top six prospects in Law’s midseason prospect rankings — shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (No. 1 overall), Mejia (No. 5) and pitcher MacKenzie Gore (No. 6).

ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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