Friday, July 20, 2018

Give 'em a Hand and they'll Cimber up.

As you may have noticed, I took a few days off for the All-Star break.

And while I was gone, the Cleveland Indians made a trade to address their bullpen problems, acquiring two relief pitchers from the San Diego Padres.

One of them is Brad Hand, Minnesotan (born in Minneapolis, high school in Chaska) and All Star, and he's the obvious big get for the Tribe. He figures to step into the role played by Andrew Miller in the second half of 2016 and almost all of 2017 -- left-handed wipeout reliever called upon at any point in the game by Terry Francona. If Miller were healthy, Cleveland probably isn't that interested in Hand, but he's not, and presumably there's little reason to believe that he will be.

The Tribe also picked up right-hander Adam Cimber in the deal. He's an old rookie (turns 28 in August) who's put up pretty solid numbers out of the Padres bullpen. He's not as big a name as Hand, but in some regards he's been more effective.

Hand and Cimber have thrived with Petco Park as their home grounds, and Petco is a rather pitcher-friendly environment. So we may well wonder how well their numbers will translate to Cleveland and the DH league. But they definitely figure to deepen the Cleveland bullpen, and that has been a problem all year for Francona.

All this matters for the Twins, because to the extent that they still harbor legitinate playoff ambitions, they have to catch Cleveland. The wild card really isn't an option for Minnesota this year. The Indians are better today than they were on Monday.

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