On Sunday, the Yankees got swept by the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. They lost the third game on a walk-off home run by Jake Bauers on Chasen Shreve‘s first pitch of the bottom of the 12th inning. With that blown save, Chasen Shreve has continued his streak of being just plain bad. Given he is the only left-handed reliever in the Yankees’ bullpen other than their closer, Aroldis Chapman, it is becoming apparent that not only do the Yankees need to add a starter, but they need to add a better left-handed reliever as well. The best option for them, especially if they end up getting a not-so-expensive starter like J.A Happ, is probably the San Diego Padres’ closer Brad Hand. Shreve sports a 2-2 record with an exorbitant 5.15 ERA in 26.0 innings pitched. It’s also not as though he is a lefty specialist, as he has given up three home runs to lefties and four home runs to righties. He has given up those three home runs to lefties in 8.2 innings pitched against them, so lefty hitters are seeing the ball well when they face Shreve.
The Yankees are serious about making a World Series run this year, that is no secret, but it is going to be hard to do that without a truly dominant left-handed reliever that can pitch in the 6th, 7th, or 8th innings. The answer to their lefty reliever problem might just be Brad Hand. Hand has been superb throughout his MLB career, as he has a 2.37 earned run average and sports a 13.03 K/9 in 2018. Furthermore, he is practically unhittable against lefties, as he has a .068 BAA versus lefties and has only given up one home run to lefties in 14.0 combined innings pitched against them. He is a little worse against righties, as they have .211 BAA and have hit four home runs in 24.0 innings pitched against them.
The biggest reason why the Yankees might not go for Brad Hand is that he will probably be a bit too expensive for their liking. As all Yankees fans remember, they traded Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians for Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield and traded Aroldis Chapman for the now phenomenal Gleyber Torres. All of those players, at the time, were minor leaguers, so it’s not like the Yankees will need to give up Andujar or Torres for Brad Hand, but they may need to dip into their stacked farm system to land him. It’s possible, rather likely, that the Padres will want one or multiple of Estevan Florial, Justus Sheffield, Albert Abreu, or Domingo Acevedo, who are all in the top 10 in the Yankees’ farm system.
The Yankees do have a stacked farm system, however, they also have a set outfield for years to come, and might be willing to let a guy like Florial leave for the purpose of getting back a pitcher like Brad Hand. The Yankees will have plenty of scenarios for the rest of the season and in the playoffs where a lefty like Brad Hand will come in handy (no pun intended). What makes Hand so valuable is not that he is just good this year, but also that he is under contract through 2020, with a club option for 2021. So, if the Yankees get Hand, they will have a viable replacement for Andrew Miller for years to come. It seems like a no-brainer, but the Yankees may not be willing to part ways with some of their top prospects. If the Yankees do get Brad Hand, however, their bullpen will without a doubt be the most dominant in baseball.