The Dodgers could really use Brad Hand in their bullpen.
Andrew Friedman stated that the Los Angeles Dodgers were going to prioritize a right-handed bat in free agency this offseason and he also touched upon the bullpen, which is an obvious area that needs to be addressed.
Blake Treinen, Pedro Baez and Jake McGee are all free agents and each of them played a big role during the team’s World Series run. McGee was easily the best regular-season performer out of all of them but for some reason didn’t appear much in the playoffs (3.2 innings of work). His departure also leaves a void in the left-handed department.
Don’t expect Baez to be back. Perhaps a deal is worked out with Treinen, but he may have improved his stock with some key outings on the postseason (aside from that nightmarish one against the Braves). Who can fill at least one more spot in the ‘pen, then?
Enter Brad Hand.
The Cleveland Indians rejected Hand’s $10 million team option for 2021 — yup, the MLB saves leader! The Tribe couldn’t even fathom a scenario in which they picked up his option and failed to find a trade partner. They just washed their hands clean of it altogether as quickly as they could.
That means one of two things. There’s a top closer on the open market, who could theoretically take over the ninth-inning job in LA so Kenley Jansen could be moved to the eighth to help fans (and manager Dave Roberts) avoid elevated blood pressure levels. Secondly? Hand will probably come relatively cheap after his option was outright rejected.
A Dodgers-Hand pairing is nothing new, in terms of the rumor mill. He’s been linked to LA since 2017 — first with the Padres and then again with the Indians. If Friedman was willing to surrender assets for the left-hander when his value was at its peak, why wouldn’t he chase him after a career season at a discount when he’s a free agent?
Add a cost-effective closer, bump Jansen to the setup man role, and the bullpen probably doesn’t miss a beat. This should happen unless someone jumps in to out-bid the Dodgers, but we highly doubt that’ll occur in this climate.