Chicago Cubs: Bullpen can still improve following Craig Kimbrel signing

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(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs: Brad Hand makes the Cubs bullpen dominant

The Cubs’ top target should be Cleveland Indians closer Brad Hand. Maybe I’m getting a little bit greedy here, but acquiring Hand to be a setup man or lefty-lefty specialist could really make the bullpen elite. As far as left-handed closers go, Hand is the cream of the crop.

The southpaw has been flawless this season in the ninth inning, going a perfect 18-for-18 in saves. He has only surrendered three earned runs on the year and is rocking a 1.05 ERA. He’s simply dominated on the mound with a FIP of 1.91 while striking out 36 batters and walking just seven.

Against lefties, Hand has been nearly untouchable. He has given up zero runs in 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine. He’s surrendered just three hits and three walks.

Hand is having arguably his best season and due to a contract that has him under control until 2020 (possibly 2021 with a team option), the Indians are going to demand a lot in return for him. Personally, I would be fine trading Ian Happ to the Indians who are surely looking for help in the outfield, seeing as they just let Carlos Gonzalez walk.

Hand’s availability will, unfortunately, depend on whether or not the Indians are truly sellers. They look to be out of contention in the AL Central already but are only a game back in the AL Wild Card. They’re battling a lot of big injuries early in the year so if they slide further, they could go into sell mode, making Hand a hot commodity.

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