Free agent reliever Brad Hand is heading to the NL East to play for the Washington Nationals.
Over a week ago, the biggest domino in the reliever market fell, as Liam Hendriks signed a $54 million contract with the Chicago White Sox. It was only a matter of time before Brad Hand, the next best reliever on the market, would sign on with a team. On Sunday, Hand found a new home.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Hand has agreed to terms with the Washington Nationals on a one-year, $10.5 million contract.
Washington beats New York to the punch
Reports on Jan. 15 indicated that Hand would be agreeing to a deal with the New York Mets. Yet, that news was retracted by a variety of insiders shortly afterwards, saying that Hand was still exploring his options. On Saturday, MLB insider Jon Heyman reported that the Nationals were “potential players” for Hand. 24 hours later, Washington pried Hand away from the rival Mets on a one-year deal.
At the end of the postseason, the Cleveland Indians decided to place Hand on outright waivers. The news came as a shock because Hand is the best left-handed reliever in the game today. And Cleveland let him walk for nothing.
This past season, Hand recorded a 2.05 ERA, a 0.773 WHIP and 29 strikeouts over 22 innings of work. Hand led the league in saves (16) and games finished (21).
Now that a deal is agreed upon, Hand joins the likes of Daniel Hudson, Will Harris and Tanner Rainey in the bullpen, but as the team’s new closer for the 2021 season.