Report: Indians' Brad Hand Put on Outright Waivers; CLE Plans to Decline Option

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2020

Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Brad Hand throws against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. Cleveland won 1-0. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The Cleveland Indians have placed closer Brad Hand on outright waivers, according to Zack Meisel of The Athletic. 

The pitcher has a $10 million player option for 2021 but is also owed a $1 million buyout if it is declined.

Per Meisel, Cleveland doesn't intend to pick up the option if Hand goes unclaimed, but adding him to waivers saves the team the cost of the buyout. Another team could also add him now on a one-year deal before he hits free agency this offseason.

The 30-year-old has been one of the best relievers in baseball in recent years, including in 2020 when he led the majors with 16 saves. He also posted a 2.05 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in 22 innings, totaling 29 strikeouts with just four walks.

His impressive season came after three straight All-Star selections with the Indians and San Diego Padres.

Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2016, Hand has a 2.70 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

Despite his success, Cleveland is clearly ready to move on from the high-priced reliever while likely signaling further moves as part of a rebuild.

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The Indians have finished above .500 in each of the last eight years, but the team continues to deal away key players in recent years, including pitchers Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger. Francisco Lindor has one season remaining under team control, but Meisel previously reported "it seems as though it's a foregone conclusion that he'll be dealt this winter."

The team will hope to remain in contention in the AL Central next season behind Shane Bieber, Jose Ramirez and other young players.