The Cleveland Indians’ bullpen is about to receive a huge boost.
The San Diego Padres are trading All-Star closer Brad Hand to the Indians, sources told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Robert Murray on Thursday.
And that’s not all. Cleveland also is acquiring reliever Adam Cimber from San Diego, a source told Rosenthal.
That’s obviously a huge haul for the Indians, but it understandably comes at a price. The Padres reportedly will receive 22-year-old catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia, whom MLB.com ranks as the top prospect in the Indians’ farm system and the No. 15 prospect in all of baseball.
The Indians’ bullpen was excellent last season, but this season has been a different story. The unit has the second-worst ERA (5.28) and FIP (4.85) among all big-league bullpens. Only the Royals’ bullpen has been worse, and Kansas City has the worst record in Major League Baseball, whereas Cleveland is sitting in first place in the American League Central coming out of the All-Star break.
Hand, 28, recorded 24 saves and posted a 3.05 ERA over 44 1/3 innings in the first half of the season. The left-hander, who has earned two consecutive All-Star nods with the Padres, has struck out 13.2 batters per nine innings this season. He’s under Cleveland’s control through 2021.
Cimber, who turns 28 next month, is in the midst of his first major league season. The right-hander owns a 3.17 ERA and 2.32 FIP over 48 1/3 innings while striking out 9.5 batters per nine frames.
This move makes plenty of sense for the Indians, who have their sights set on their second World Series appearance in three seasons, but the Padres are receiving a very highly regarded prospect in Mejia.
UPDATE (11:50 a.m. ET): The deal is official.