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Rockies sign LHP Brad Hand to a one year deal

With lefty reliever Lucas Gilbreath likely needing Tommy John Surgery, the Rockies have turned to the free agent market for reinforcements.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Colorado Rockies have signed left-handed reliever Brad Hand to a one year contract worth $2 million. Per Rosenthal, Hand’s base salary for 2023 will be $1.5 million and includes a $500K buyout or $7 million club option for 2024.

The Rockies’ decision to turn to free agency for reinforcements comes shortly after it was revealed that fellow lefty Lucas Gilbreath might need Tommy John Surgery and is likely to miss the 2023 season. With Gilbreath out, Brent Suter was the only left-handed bullpen pitcher on the Rockies’ 40-man roster while Fernando Abad, Logan Allen, Ty Blach, and Josh Rogers are all with the Rockies camp as Non-Roster Invitees.

A journeyman reliever, Hand began his career with the Miami Marlins after being selected in the second round of the 2008 draft. In five seasons with the Marlins he spent time both as a starter and a reliever before moving on to the San Diego Padres, where he became a full-time reliever. Since then he has also spent time with the Cleveland Guardians, Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, and most recently the Philadelphia Phillies. He has a career ERA of 3.62 in 519 appearances.

Last season with the Phillies Hand made 55 regular season relief appearances over 45 innings, striking out 38 batters, walking 23, and giving up two home runs while posting a 2.80 ERA. He made seven appearances over 5 23 innings during the Phillies’ postseason run with a 4.76 ERA.

Hand’s primary pitch is a slider with sweeping action that averages 79.3 MPH and carried a 22.0% whiff rate last season. Not primarily a strikeout pitcher, Hand instead uses his slider to induce soft, airborne contact. He also throws a low 90s four seam fastball with moderate spin, as well as a sinker.

Hand will receive a $1 million bonus if he makes the Rockies’ Opening Day roster. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Tyler Kinley has been moved to the 60-day IL. Hand will also have to choose a new uniform number, having worn 52 for the majority of his career, and 33 with the Guardians.