Blue Jays land reliever Brad Hand from Nationals ahead of MLB trade deadline
|Toronto Star 29 Jul 2021 at 12:53|
Blue Jays fans had been calling on the club to make its Toronto homecoming on Friday extra special with the acquisition of a new face or two ahead or the MLB trade deadline and the organization delivered on Thursday, acquiring Washington Nationals closer Brad Hand.
Toronto used its catching depth to secure the left hander, sending prospect Riley Adams to the 2019 World Series champions in return.
News of a deal was first reported by Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post.
Hand was one of the top free-agent relievers this past off-season and the Jays were reportedly one of the teams who checked in on him at the time. He signed a one-year, $10.5-million (U.S.) deal with the Nationals in January and posted a 3.59 ERA in 42 2/3 innings with the team this season.
With Washington sitting fourth in the National League East through Thursday, the team approached the deadline as sellers and the Jays got their man the second time around.
Complicating Hand’s arrival in Toronto could be a recent COVID-19 outbreak within the organization.
Nationals infielder Trea Turner exited the team’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday after a positive test for the virus. The game between the two teams was postponed on Wednesday after Washington announced four players and eight staffers also tested positive.
Turner was among the four players who contracted the virus; the other four have not been identified. All but one of the members of the organization who tested positive had been vaccinated, and those who were experiencing symptoms reported only minor ones.
Adams, 25, was on Toronto’s 40-man roster at the time of the trade. The right handed hitter is the No 17th-ranked prospect in the system and made his debut for the Jays earlier this season, hitting .107 with a .345 OPS in 12 games at the big-league level.
While the Jays were pleased with Adams’ development in recent years, catching is an area of strength for an organization that boasts Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Reese McGuire at the big-league level, as well as No. 5 prospect Gabriel Moreno, who lit up Double-A earlier this year before suffering a thumb injury.