I’m not saying I immediately regret writing that Anthony Rizzo on a $14.5 million decision should still be a no-brainer, but boy, the market sure is ready to offer another very ugly data point.
Brad Hand, an exceptional reliever, is getting dumped:
The Indians have placed Brad Hand on outright waivers with the intention of declining his $10 million club option if he goes unclaimed, sources say. If a team does claim him, the Indians won't be responsible for paying his $1 million buyout. Hand posted a 2.05 ERA in 2020.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) October 29, 2020
In a normal market, Hand as a free agent, at age 30, would be getting a three or four-year deal well above $30 million. Look at Will Smith (3/$40M) and Drew Pomeranz (4/$34M) and Zack Britton (3/$39M) in recent years. We’ve seen it again and again for this kind of impact reliever. That’s the range.
But in this market, at least as the Indians see it, he’s not even worth one year and a $9 million decision. Heck, they’re just hoping they can get out of the $1 million they owe him to buy it out!
That guy isn’t worth $9 million and a one-year commitment? Good God.
What’s remarkable about this one is that, because Hand is being outrighted before the option decision, we’re going to get a real data point about the market as a hole: a team out there could claim Hand, today, and pick up his option. Any team. Any team that is willing to pay Hand $10 million for 2021 can have him right now.
And if he goes unclaimed, then we’ll know something more about this offseason’s market. Of course, even if he’s claimed, this means the Indians determined that Hand had no meaningful TRADE value at $10 million. That, alone, says a whole lot.
Before you say it: no, I don’t see any chance the Cubs claim Hand for $10 million. Might they pursue him in free agency? Sure. Most teams will if the price tag is bupkis!
I’m thinking Craig Kimbrel ($16 million in 2021) definitely won’t be traded this offseason shy of the Cubs eating an enormous amount of that contract. The better play is probably still going to be just carrying him to the Trade Deadline, and seeing (1) if you’re competitive, and (2) if the market looks very different because fans are back or whatever.