By: Noah Wright
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This morning, it was announced that The Cleveland Indians acquired Padres’ All-Star lefty Brad Hand, and breakout righty Adam Cimber. In exchange The Padres will receive top catching prospect Francisco Mejia. Overall, the trade seems pretty fair, if you ask me. Both teams receive pieces that they need, and want.
Let's look at what The Indians received from The Friars. The Indians return really helps them bolster back end of their bullpen. The biggest arms The Indians were relying on this season being Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen, have both been inconsistent, both in health and performance. Both Allen and Miller have ERA’s over 4. Their FIP’s, with Miller’s being 3.35, and Allen’s being 4.46. The most worrying thing about Miller’s performance is his 6.3 walks/9 rate. However, this trade brings them 2 arms that will help them both now, and in the next few years. To start, Hand is having a decent season. While this season has been a step down from last season for the lefty, Hand is still has a 3.03 ERA, 3.17 FIP, and a 1.083 WHIP in 44 and a third innings as The Padres’ closer. To add on, his strikeout rate is at a career high at 13.2. Hand also adds value with his contract, as he is can be affordably controlled through the 2021 season. While Hand may be the biggest name The Indians acquired today, you could make an argument that Cimber is having the better season. The submarine righty has a 3.17 ERA, 2.32 FIP, and 1.076 WHIP in his first 48 and a third innings of his career. Cimber also has just a 1.9 walk/9 rate to go with a 9.5 K/9 rate.
The Padres got a really good prospect in return for their 2 best relief pitchers. Francisco Mejia has had a really good season so far in Triple-A. Overall, Mejia has produced a .279/.328/.426 and 110 wRC+ line in 336 plate appearances, all in Triple-A. While Mejia isn’t known for his power, he still has 7 long balls and 45 RBI’s. On MLB’s top 100 prospect list, Mejia ranks #15 currently. Mejia’s weakest part of his game is his defense. MLB puts his defense at 45 overall on their prospect list, however he has thrown out 35% of runners trying to steal off of him. Padres do have one of the best defensive catchers in the league in Austin Hedges, and will likely keep him there. With Hedges blocking the catching position, The Padres will likely move Mejia to either third base, or a corner outfield spot, as he’s seen time at third last season, and time in the grass this season.
Overall, the trade is pretty fair for both teams. The Indians bring in much needed bullpen reinforcements, while the rebuilding Padres receive a prospect that could really help them in the long run. The trade could also help The Indians stay in contention for a handful of more seasons than before this trade.