Cleveland Indians

Indians upgrade bullpen with acquisitions of Hand, Cimber

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I wrote yesterday about the Cleveland Indians interest in San Diego Padres reliever Brad Hand.

On Thursday, the Indians went ahead and acquired the two-time All-Star reliever as well as rookie reliever Adam Cimber from San Diego in exchange for their top prospect, catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia.

Hand went to Twitter to thank the Padres and to express his excitement about joining the Indians

Hand now joins Indians closer Cody Allen and Andrew Miller who will be returning from the disabled list soon to potentially form a dangerous 1-2-3 punch in the bullpen to coincide with a strong pitching rotation that can compete with the Astros, Yankees and Red Sox in the American League.

He has made the All-Star team in the last two seasons and this season has converted a career high 24 saves through the first half of the season.

The 28-year-old left hander is 2-4 with a 3.05 ERA and is striking out 13.2 batters per nine innings in 44.1 innings pitched (41 appearances) this season. Opposing hitters are batting .202 against him this season (.229 against right handed hitters, .148 against left handed hitters) and for the last calendar year, opposing hitters are batting .193 against Hand.

Hand is under contract through 2020 with a 2021 team option.

Cimber is 27-years-old and was a 9th round pick by the Padres in the 2013 MLB Draft. He made his major league debut earlier this year and has been effective for San Diego all season long. In 42 appearances, he’s 3-5 with a 3.17 ERA and has finished ten games for the Padres.

He’s struck out 51 batters while only walking ten in 48.1 innings pitched. Against right handers, he’s limiting them to a .210 batting average with 28 strikeouts and one walk, left handers are htting .293 off him with 23 strikeouts and nine walks.

Since Cimber is a rookie, the Indians have him under control through at least the 2023 season. His unique submarine style delivery is like former Indians reliever Joe Smith.

As for Mejia, this is the second time the Indians have traded him but this time the deal officially went through. Two years ago, he was dealt to Texas for catcher Jonathan Lucroy but Lucroy blocked the trade with his no-trade clause.

He’s been reluctant to move away from catcher despite the Indians giving him opportunities at third base and in the outfield but with Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez holding down the catcher position for the Indians for the near future, it made Mejia expendable.

He now goes to the Padres organization that has a deep farm system with nine of the top 100 prospects according to MLB.com.

Mejia has a ton of upside in terms of a hitter which he’s proven throughout the Indians minor league system and should continue to do that as he reports to AAA El Paso in the Padres system. He’ll remain at catcher and will likely compete with Austin Hedges at catcher next spring.

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