2. Bullpen solidified through 2021
The Indians trade for Brad Hand came at a high price, as the organization gave up its No. 1 prospect.
In return, though, the Indians got their closer of the future (more on that later), who could be wearing an Indians uniform through 2021 if all goes according to plan.
Hand’s addition affords manager Terry Francona the option of playing matchups come October, much like he did in 2016.
Francona will likely keep Cody Allen as his designated closer, but should Francona want to employ Allen earlier in the game, he’ll have Hand in the bullpen.
Hand has been stellar since moving to the bullpen after a failed career as a starter. He posted 11.8 strikeouts per game in his first season as a closer, and was fanning 13.2 batters per nine frames in 2018.
The team also got rookie side-armer named Adam Cimber who will concur up images of Joe Smith in late-inning, high-leverage situations.
Cimber, 27, is a former ninth-round 2013 draft pick, who’s been a reliever for 99 percent of his minor-league career. It’s a little surprising it took him this long to get the majors, because he’s got solid minor-league stats. From 2013-2017, Cimber posted a 3.06 ERA and 1.65 walks per nine innings over 304 innings.