The Cleveland Indians have placed Brad Hand on outright waivers, according to The Athletic’s Zack Meisel.
The Indians have placed Brad Hand on outright waivers with the intention of declining his $10 million club option if he goes unclaimed, sources say. If a team does claim him, the Indians won't be responsible for paying his $1 million buyout. Hand posted a 2.05 ERA in 2020.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) October 29, 2020
Doing so, as Zack noted, could potentially save the Indians his $1 million buyout if another team wants to pay Hand the $10 million he’s owed instead of courting him in free agency. If not, the Indians can just decline his option and pay the $1 million to let him go. Keep in mind that outright waivers are not the same as being designated for assignment — if a team claims Hand there is no trading him, he and his salary are just off Cleveland’s books.
Hand was initially acquired by the Indians ahead of the 2018 trade deadline along with Adam Cimber in exchange for catching prospect Francisco Mejia. In 107 innings since, he has served as the Tribe’s closer racking up 58 saves with a 2.78 ERA and 2.62 FIP.
A rocky, velocity-issue plagued end to 2019 and first couple outings of 2020 had some (and I won’t name names [me]) concerned that the 30-year-old might be tailspinning towards the end of his career. But he battled back and was one of the best relievers in baseball again in 2020. Despite nearly a quarter of the balls in play off him going in the air and stranding only 57.9% of base runners, he did not allow a single regular season home run and walked four batters in 22 innings of work.
Despite his turnaround and track record of being a solid reliever, the Indians’ suddenly growing bullpen combined with their desire to rapidly shed payroll meant that bringing him back for $10 million was always going to be a long shot. And now he will be gone for nothing before the weekend.