Blue Jays acquire closer Brad Hand from Nationals for Riley Adams

Ben Nicholson-Smith & Arden Zwelling break down the Blue Jays acquisition of Brad Hand from the Nationals ahead of the trade deadline, why they gave up prospect Riley Adams, and what it means for the team's intentions for the rest of the season.

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays are adding veteran left-hander Brad Hand to their bullpen in a trade that will send catcher Riley Adams to the Washington Nationals, industry sources told Sportsnet Thursday morning.

The deal, which was first reported by the Washington Post, gives the Blue Jays' bullpen a three-time all-star who's now enjoying another productive season at age 31. In 42.2 innings for Washington, Hand has a 3.59 ERA with 42 strikeouts compared to 18 walks and just 31 hits allowed.

With 126 career saves, including 21 this year, Hand has lots of experience closing out games should the Blue Jays want to use him in save situations. In fact, the last time he wasn't a closer was 2016, his breakout season with the San Diego Padres.

Regardless of how he’s used, it's worth noting that Hand's peripheral numbers have dropped off this year, with decreases in strikeout rate from 33.7 per cent to 23.1 per cent and an increase in walk rate from 4.7 per cent to 9.9 per cent. However, his average velocity has ticked up since last year and now sits at 93.1 m.p.h.

The Blue Jays showed some interest in Hand before he signed a one-year, $10.5 million deal with Washington in January. Now, they take on the remainder of that salary, $6.5 million of which is deferred.

Adams, 25, made his MLB debut earlier this season. He has spent most of the year at triple-A, where he's showing legitimate power on his way to a .239/.371/.487 slash line. However, with strikeouts in 32 per cent of his at bats and an organizational surplus behind the plate, the Blue Jays deemed Adams expendable.

With Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire and Alejandro Kirk already at the MLB level and top prospect Gabriel Moreno rising through the farm system, the Blue Jays still have four catchers on their 40-man roster.

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