Brad Hand, LHP, Padres

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

What’s up: San Diego was never go­ing to be a post­sea­son player this year, but it still could be a mover and shaker. In Hand, the Padres have one of the most cov­eted trade pieces on the mar­ket as the July 31 dead­line ap­proaches. There has been spec­u­la­tion that Hous­ton and the Los An­ge­les Dodgers, the two best teams in base­ball, are go­ing to press hard to ac­quire the left-handed re­liever. The Rock­ies also need re­lief help, but their big­ger need is righthanders.

Back­ground: Not long ago, Hand was a lost pitcher lan­guish­ing in South Florida. In parts of five sea­sons with the Marlins, the 27-year-old had a 4.71 ERA spread across 43 starts and 47 re­lief ap­pear­ances. He had no set role and his ca­reer was go­ing nowhere. The Padres claimed him off the waiver wire at the end of spring train­ing in 2016 and made him a full-time re­liever. Now he’s be­come a re­li­able late-game per­former, post­ing a 2.71 ERA with 171 strike­outs in 136L in­nings dur­ing his time with the Padres. He hit his stride prior to the all-star break. In 47 in­nings pitched, Hand had a 2.30 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP with 60 strike­outs vs. only 13 walks.

Saun­ders’ take: We all know that the Rock­ies need bullpen help, but I don’t think Hand will be the right fit. As good as he’s been, he is a left­hander and the Rock­ies al­ready have two solid left­ies in Jake Mcgee and Chris Rusin. Mike Dunn, signed for $19 mil­lion over three years, has been one of the Rock­ies’ big­gest dis­ap­point­ments. Af­ter an ex­cel­lent April, he’s strug­gled, as ev­i­denced by his 5.40 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. The Rock­ies still be­lieve that Dunn can get right. We’ll see about that, but I’m think­ing they’re go­ing to tar­get a right-han­der to shore up the bullpen. The Marlins, who have been scout­ing the Rock­ies as a pos­si­ble trade part­ner, have two solid right-han­ders in closer AJ Ramos and David Phelps. There have also been ru­mors that Colorado might be in­ter­ested in Philadel­phia’s Pat Neshek, though I’ve heard noth­ing con­crete about that.

Rob Carr, Getty Im­ages

The Padres’ Brad Hand pitches for the Na­tional League dur­ing last week’s All-star Game at Marlins Park in Miami.

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