The Twins’ already slim chances of catching Cleveland in the American League Central race, were dealt a significant blow on Thursday when the Indians acquired lefthanded closer Brad Hand and righthanded reliever Adam Cimber from San Diego.
The Padres received highly touted 22-year-old catching prospect Francisco Mejia in the deal. Mejia has been playing at Triple-A.
Cleveland has a 7.5 game lead on the second-place Twins, but their bullpen has stopped the Indians from pulling away in the division. A season after having the best bullpen ERA in the big leagues, Cleveland’s relievers have a 5.28 earned-run average, second-to-last in the American League. Part of the issue has been Indians ace reliever Andrew Miller has dealt with injuries this season.
The 28-year-old Hand, a two-time All-Star, is 2-4 with a career-high 24 saves and a 3.05 ERA. Cimber, 27, has a 3.17 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 48.1 innings in his first season in the major leagues.
Hand does not arrive in Cleveland as a rental. He signed a three-year, $19.75 million extension in 2018 that contains a club option for 2021.