With the Pittsburgh Pirates still in need of bullpen help, veteran lefty Brad Hand could be a fit in free agency
Next week, pitchers and catchers will report to Bradenton. With that, spring training 2023 will be underway for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Being this close to the start of spring training does not mean that the team's roster is ready to go for the regular season.
One area of the roster that could still use help is the bullpen. The team has added Jarlín García in free agency this offseason, they have also added Jose Hernandez in the Rule 5 Draft and Dauri Moreta in the Kevin Newman trade. Despite these moves, the team could still use more bullpen help. Specifically, left-handed bullpen help.
One veteran reliever who is still available in free agency that could provide a boost to the Pirate bullpen is Brad Hand. The 32-year-old lefty is coming off a strong season with the Philadelphia Phillies, and it is a surprise that he is still available in free agency.
Hand pitched 45.0 innings in 55 relief appearances last regular season. He posted a 2.80 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 11.6% walk rate, 19.2% strikeout rate, and he picked up 5 saves. In 5.2 innings pitched in the postseason, Hand allowed 3 earned runs on six hits, a walk, a home run, and four strikeouts.
Throughout his MLB career Hand has been one of the more consistent left-handed relievers in baseball. Since moving to a full-time bullpen role in 2016, Hand owns a 2.89 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 8.7% walk rate, 29.9% strikeout rate, and a 0.88 HR/9 in 429.2 innings pitched.
Hand would provide the Pirate bullpen with a much needed additional left-handed option. Hand would also continue the offseason trend the Pirates have had of adding veteran experience and leadership to the team.
The veteran lefty would also be able to play multiple roles out of the Pirate bullpen. He could be used to get big outs against tough left-handed hitters, Hand could be used in high-leverage situations, and could also be used to help close out games on nights David Bednar is not available.
Looking to get a deal done with Hand before the start of spring training would be a big boost for the Pirate bullpen. As long as Hand is still available in free agency, he is a pitcher that the Pirates should consider pursuing.