The #Braves today declined LHP Brad Hand’s option for the 2024 season.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 5, 2023
The 33-year-old southpaw was acquired via trade at the deadline but never positively regressed as Alex Anthopoulos anticipated.
In 18 innings with the Braves, Hand posted an unsightly 7.50 ERA. Over the entire 2023 campaign, the veteran had a 5.53 ERA in 53.2 innings with Colorado and Atlanta.
He was dominant against left-handed batters but struggled mightily against righties, which isn’t worth even close to $7 million. It just goes to show Father Time always wins. From 2016 to 2022, Hand was one of the best relievers in baseball, posting a 2.89 ERA.
That’s not to say the Braves or another club won’t be interested because his underlying metrics were encouraging, just not at that price point. His 49.6% strand rate, 25% strikeout rate, and above-average hard-contact metrics suggest positive regression could be in line, as his 3.87 SIERA was well below his 5.53 ERA.
The Braves weren’t expected to exercise the option anyway, but they’ve still got a lot of work to do in the bullpen. Bringing back Pierce Johnson and Joe Jimenez is a great start; however, the relief core is the one facet that I believe the club should overkill.