Toronto Blue Jays bolster bullpen with Brad Hand

Jul 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Brad Hand (52) throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the ninth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Brad Hand (52) throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the ninth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays have been determined to improve their bullpen at the trade deadline. They had already made one deal, acquiring Adam Cimber as part of a deal with the Marlins. However, that trade was just the beginning, as the bullpen still needed a great deal of help.

On Thursday, the Blue Jays made another move to bolster their bullpen. They have acquired Brad Hand from the Washington Nationals, helping to solidify the closer role.

Toronto Blue Jays find their closer in Brad Hand

After Julian Merryweather went down early in the season, the ninth inning has been a revolving door for the Blue Jays. Seven different pitchers have at least one save, with Jordan Romano leading the team with eight. Hand provides stability that the team desperately needed.

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The 2020 AL save leader, Hand has not been as dominant as he was last season. However, he has been a solid option in the ninth inning once again, notching 21 saves while posting a 3.59 ERA and a 1.148 WHiP in his 42.2 innings, striking out 42 batters with 18 walks. Hand has blown five saves thus far, but is still a far better option than what the Blue Jays have been sending out this season.

In exchange, the Nationals are reportedly receiving one of the Blue Jays plethora of catching prospects in Riley Adams. He is somewhat lost amongst the other catching prospects in the organization, but is still an intriguing prospect in his own right. He is considered a bat first catcher, although his defense has improved. With the Nationals unable to find a viable major league option behind the plate, Adams will get a chance.

This move should give the Blue Jays the bullpen depth they need. Hand’s presence in the ninth inning will allow the rest of the relief corps to slot back one inning, putting them in their more natural spots. And, as a rental, he would not block the team from giving Merryweather a longer audition as a closer should they go that route in 2022.

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The Toronto Blue Jays have solidified their bullpen by adding Brad Hand. While their work is not done, it is a step in the right direction.