In need of left-handed relief, Rockies get a helping Hand for bullpen

Mar 4, 2023, 1:06 PM
Brad Hand...
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The Rockies have Hand … and they’re gonna need it.

Saturday, the Rockies signed the three-time All-Star left-handed reliever to a 1-year, $2-million deal, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Colorado also has a $7-million club option for 2024, Rosenthal reported.

The Rockies found themselves in need of left-handed bullpen help after lefty reliever Lucas Gilbreath had a setback in his recovery from an injury in his throwing elbow suffered last August. Gilbreath will likely need Tommy John surgery, ending his season.

Thus, Hand likely won’t have an invisible role in the Rockies’ bullpen. In fact, he appears poised to be the primary left-handed bullpen option.

And although his splits have historically favored his work against lefties rather than righties, the reverse was true last year. He allowed a .637 OPS to righties compared with .686 against left-handed batters.

Hand made three consecutive All-Star games from 2017-19 — first with the San Diego Padres and finally with the Cleveland Indians. He was a primary closer for both teams, and then assumed that role in Washington in 2021 after signing a 1-year, $10.5-million deal.

Washington dealt him at the 2021 trade deadline to Toronto, but struggled with fastball command. The Blue Jays designated him for assignment after barely a month in their bullpen. The New York Mets subsequently claimed Hand off waivers, but chose not to re-sign him after the season.

That led Hand to Philadelphia, where he signed a 1-year, $6-million contract last March. For much of the year, he appeared to have rebounded.

But Hand struggled down the stretch for the Phillies last year. From September 1 onward, he had a 2.625 WHIP. Opposing batters had a 1.040 OPS, which ballooned in part because they had a .476 average on balls in play against Hand. Hand bounced back somewhat in the Phillies’ postseason run, but the offseason passed without a contract.

Hand takes the roster spot of right-handed reliever Tyler Kinley. The Rockies transferred Kinley to the 60-day injured list as he continues his recovery from a torn right-elbow flexor last June.

As a result, it’s “Aloha, Mr. Hand,” … although in this case, “Aloha” means “hello.”



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In need of left-handed relief, Rockies get a helping Hand for bullpen