Cubs need to pursue Brad Hand in an effort to shore up the bullpen

(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images) /

If the Cubs can move some money, signing Brad Hand should be a priority.

Without shedding payroll in the form of a Kris Bryant trade (or something along those lines), the Chicago Cubs will once again go with the ‘quantity over quality’ approach when building the bullpen. But if they do finally trade Bryant and perhaps someone like Kyle Schwarber, there may be room in the budget to add an impact bullpen arm like Brad Hand.

The Cleveland Indians shockingly placed Hand on waivers in late October – in a move that sent a clear message: this isn’t business as usual for some organizations. The Tribe saved $10 million by doing so and were upfront about the fact this was purely a cost-cutting measure in the wake of a fan-less 2020 season.

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MLB Trade Rumors predicts a two-year, $14 million deal for the veteran southpaw. He’s expected to draw far-reaching interest given his track record. Depending on the course Jed Hoyer charts for the Cubs, he could even make sense for Chicago.

Hand, 30, led the league with 21 games finished and 16 saves this year – working to a 1.37 FIP and 0.773 WHIP, both single-season bests. Sure, it was a shortened campaign, but the lefty got the job done regardless.

The three-time All-Star would immediately shore up a Cubs bullpen that currently lacks an impact lefty. After a breakout 2019 showing, Kyle Ryan (7.08 FIP) took a major step in the wrong direction this season and he’s really the only southpaw on the roster with substantive big league experience, with the exception of Brad Wieck, who missed virtually the entire 2020 calendar due to injury.

We got a taste of top prospect Brailyn Marquez late in the year, but he’s probably a year or more away from being ready for a spot on the big league roster. Chicago desperately needs a go-to lefty in the bullpen if it hopes to be a contender in 2021 – and Hand checks pretty much every box when you’re talking about such an acquisition.

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Again, depending on who gets moved and what the return is, perhaps Hoyer fills this glaring need in some other way. But you can’t head into next season without adding depth from the left side. Hand may prove to be out of the Cubs’ price range, but if they can make the numbers work, this is about as close to a sure-thing reliever as it gets.