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Mets claim reliever Brad Hand off waivers

The left-hander was recently designated for assignment by the Blue Jays.

Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

The Mets, who are looking to make a playoff push with a month to go in the season, have added reliever Brad Hand to their bullpen, according to Chris Cotillo. In a corresponding move, the team has DFA’ed Geoff Hartlieb. The Mets were in on the left-hander during the offseason, but they lost him to the Nationals, who signed him on a one-year contract to be their closer.

After spending the first five years of his career with the Marlins, who drafted him in the second round in the 2008 MLB Draft, Hand ended up with the Padres in 2016. It was there that he established himself as one of the better relievers in the league. He was an All Star in 2017 and 2018 for San Diego before getting traded to Cleveland in the Francisco Mejia deal. He was an All Star again in 2019 while posting a career-best 34 saves, and then led the AL with 16 saves while posting a career-best 2.05 ERA and 1.37 FIP in 2020.

The 11-year veteran ended up inking a one-year deal with the Nationals this winter, specifically for the opportunity to serve as a full-time closer. It was this that attracted him to Washington over signing with the Mets, who were also trying to sign the lefty. He posted a 3.59 ERA, a 4.33 FIP, and a 1.15 WHIP in 42.2 innings in DC. Hand was part of Washington’s fire sale, and ended on the Blue Jays. He never clicked with his new club, pitching to a 7.27 ERA, a 7.54 FIP, and a 1.85 WHIP in 8.2 innings over 11 appearances.

Hand was designated for assignment on August 31. This opened the door for the Mets to bring in the reliever they coveted this winter. It’s unclear where he will fit within the team’s current bullpen construction, but at worst, bringing in a veteran with his past success can’t hurt.