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The Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline is July 31. It's no secret the Cleveland Indians need help in their bullpen if they want to get back to the World Series.
The Indians didn't wait until the deadline to fix its bullpen issues. Cleveland asked the San Diego Padres to lend them a hand before the start of the post All-Star break portion of the 2018 season.
The Indians acquire All-Star left hand reliever Brad Hand and right hander Adam Cimber from the Padres. Cleveland sends their top catching prospect Francisco Meija to San Diego in return.
Hand represented San Diego in Tuesday's All-Star game in Washington D.C. Hand recorded 24 saves and a 3.05 earned run average for the Padres in 2018. Cimber has a 3.17 earned run average in 42 appearance in San Diego.
The deal is good for Meija as well. He was the Indians top catching prospect. Cleveland was trying to convert him to an outfielder to increase his chances of playing in the major leagues. Meija will return to his natural position of catcher with the Padres.
Cleveland needed to address the bullpen not just for 2018, but for years to come. Both Hand and Cimber are under contract for next three seasons. The Indians current closer Cody Allen and top set up man Andrew Miller will be free agents at the end of the season. If either Allen or MIller or both relievers leave Cleveland after the season, Hand is likely to take over the closer's role in 2019.
Hand could get some opportunities to close for manager Terry Francona this season. Despite becoming the Indians all time leader in saves, Allen has struggled at time in 2018. With Miller still on the disabled list, the timing of the trade is perfect to address the back end of the Indians bullpen.
With the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros also looking to add arms to their bullpens, Cleveland was smart to act now by getting a much needed helping hand.