The Nationals have several spots to fill, a solid chunk of money to possibly do it with and lots of quality options to choose from.
The free agent list this year is not about superstar names. Rather, it’s about depth and quality. Even the second tier of free agents holds value, especially if their contracts are brief and costs suppressed by a mediocre market.
As part of our ongoing look at individuals who could fit in different places for the Nationals, here is a look at former Cleveland reliever Brad Hand.
What he does well: Handles left-handed hitters. Lefties have a .552 OPS against Hand during his 10-year career. His approach to such powerful numbers is different. Hand throws more sliders than fastballs, a pivot that began in 2018. He operates with a high strikeout rate, in high-leverage situations and on a regular basis. In a nutshell, Hand has become one of the better relievers in baseball, not just one of the best left-handed relievers in MLB.
Where he fits with the Nationals: Right at the back of the bullpen. The Nationals desperately need left-handed relief help. Will Harris has quality numbers against left-handed hitters in his career. Davey Martinez often uses Wander Suero against left-handed hitters. But, there is no one in the current bullpen who explicitly stamps out left-handed threats -- which are crucial in the National League East -- like Hand does. He will be expensive. The Indians declined a $10 million option on Hand, which pushed him into a compelling reliever market. However, the Nationals need precisely what he does.
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