San Diego Padres: A.J. Preller looking smart for not trading Brad Hand–yet

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Brad Hand
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Brad Hand /

The San Diego Padres kept their biggest asset at the trade deadline this year, which befuddled just about everybody. Now it’s looking like A.J. Preller is a much smarter man than you or I.

The San Diego Padres decided to keep Brad Hand (3-4, 2.16 ERA) at the trade deadline. The left-hander ended up leading the team in bWAR with 2.8 wins above replacement, and was one of the top southpaw relievers of 2017.

I don’t know about you, but my Twitter feed last night was filled with baseball people citing stats that were not favorable to the starting pitchers of the Wild Card games. Behold.

What does this have to do with the Padres, who missed the postseason by 16 games? It means that with their rebuild still underway, there will be pieces moved and more prospects to acquire at future winter meetings or future trade deadlines. An All Star left-handed reliever is bound to be on a few team’s checklists this winter–especially the ones that don’t win the World Series. And if the postseason has shown us anything through two whole games, it’s that having a strong bullpen is a must in today’s baseball world.

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There were people clamoring for the Yankees to “bullpen” their game with the Twins on Tuesday night. While that wasn’t the plan that Joe Girardi had when the night began, it is in fact what Girardi ended up going with, and he had that option because of the depth of relievers available to him. Options that didn’t include Dellin Betances, who has been shaky with his control of late. The Yankees bullpen depth kept Betances out of that game and the odds of winning in New York’s favor.

The Padres have two more years of control with Brad Hand, who will be in his second year of arbitration. Still, he’ll be a relative bargain, so teams of all sizes can make their offers in the hopes of securing him from San Diego this winter.

If the Astros feel the need to improve this winter (so basically if they don’t win the World Series), they could definitely be in the market for a lefty. They currently have a 34-year-old Tony Sipp (0-1, 5.79 ERA), 33-year-old Francisco Liriano (5-6, 5.66) and rookie Reymin Guduan (7.88 ERA) as their left-handed bullpen options. That encompasses their entire 40-man roster, too. So if the Astros don’t win, do you think they’d be more willing to part with some prospects that they were just a couple of months ago?

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My guess is yes.

Brad Hand’s services will be coveted this winter by just about any team hoping to make a playoff run–they’ll just have to meet the demands of A.J. Preller as he continues to rebuild the Padres.