The Padres are scouting the minor league affiliates of the New York Yankees leaving many to believe that the Bombers have an interest in one of the better lefty relievers in the game.
According to George A. King III of the New York Post, the San Diego Padres have been sending special assistant to general manager A.J. Preller, David Post, to the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate team in Scranton-Wilkes/Barre.
Per the report, there’s a sense that Post scouting the RailRiders due to New York’s interest in left-handed reliever Brad Hand, who could help fix the woes the Yankees‘ bullpen has been experiencing in the month of June and July.
This wouldn’t mark the first time one of these two teams showed interest in one another. In June, the Padres reached out to the Yankees about their No. 1 prospect, Gleyber Torres, who the Yankees obviously would rather hold onto for the long-term despite season-ending Tommy John surgery. Nonetheless, one of baseball’s best farm systems has a lot to offer and could certainly pull off a trade for Hand as long as names like Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield and a few others are off the list.
Hand would certainly add to the dynamic back-end tandem of Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman while bringing some certainty to the seventh and middle innings, which have been a circus with Tyler Clippard manning the helm.
27-year-old ranks fourth among relievers in innings (47) — after leading the league with 82 appearances in 2016 — and has registered a 2.30 ERA en route to his first All-Star selection. Hand also owns an 11.5 K/9 ratio along with a strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.62) that ranks 22nd-best among qualified relievers.
Hand is also one of those valuable relievers who can shut down both lefties and righties. Lefty hitters are slashing .192/.300/.365 while righty hitters are hitting a mere .207/.262/.293. His ground ball rate of 47.7 percent will also play well to Yankee Stadium, but it’s truly tough to see general manager Brian Cashman go this route come July 31.
In a year in which the Yankees have surprised most with house money coming off a year in which whey traded Aroldis Chapman so why would Cashman go out and acquire a lesser-version of Miller at the cost of prized prospects?
With two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining and cheap salary ($1.375 million), Hand is not one of those one-year rentals for bullpen patchwork. Hand will easily be one of the most highest-priced players on the market and it seems unlikely that Cashman goes too deep into his prospect pool to pull him from the West Coast.