The one flaw the Yankees have in their bullpen is a true lefty shutdown arm before the ninth inning (aka the Andrew Miller role). Enter San Diego Padres relief ace Brad Hand. Hand, 28, who is on a team friendly contract until 2022, has been absolutely lights out the past three seasons and would add to the depth of the vaunted bullpen in the Bronx. Also, it would shorten the games, save other important bullpen arms, reduce the need to trade for a front-line starting pitcher, and speed up the process of shooting Chasen Shreve into the sun.
Its also worth pointing out the teams he wouldn’t be on: the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. Both those teams will assuredly be involved in the bullpen market and diving into the higher end of the options. With Kelvin Herrera off to the Washington Nationals, the remaining potential high end arms include the Raisel Iglesias (Reds), Zach Britton (Orioles), Felipe Vazquez (Pirates), Keone Kela (Rangers), Jeurys Familia (Mets), Blake Treinen (A’s), and old friend Shane Greene (Tigers). Tons of intriguing names out there but Hand is the true, game changing prize of the bunch.
The price for Hand will not come cheap, and if the Padres were smart they’d unload him sooner rather than later. Relievers notoriously flame out and the longer they are held onto, the greater the risk of an injury or prolonged ineffectiveness. I’d like to imagine (and pray) Clint/Sheffield/Florial are off limits for a trade for mostly anyone not named Jacob deGrom or Madison Bumgarner. So long as those three are off the table, I have complete confidence in Brian Cashman swinging a trade for the Padres closer. Maybe a Thairo Estrada / Chance Adams / + package could get it done?