Cleveland Indians: How do Brad Hand and Adam Cimber fit the new look bullpen?
By Andrew Zubin
The addition of Brad Hand and Adam Cimber have added much-needed depth to the bullpen. It also raises the question of how will Terry Francona use them.
Brad Hand and Adam Cimber are welcomed additions to a bullpen that was starving for new arms. In one trade the Cleveland Indians attempted to address what many believe is their biggest weakness, the bullpen.
Terry Francona will be able to get creative with how he uses the new bullpen. He has proven in the past that how he uses the bullpen changes come playoff time, so what we see during the rest of the regular season might not hold through the playoffs.
Adam Cimber is putting together a great rookie season. He’s appeared in 42 games, thrown 48.1 innings and has only walked 10 batters. Due to his side arm delivery he has been extra tough on right-handed batters, they’re hitting .210 in 58 at-bats.
San Diego has used him mostly as a middle inning/bridge reliever. He has, by far, his most appearances in the 6th inning, with 15. I believe Francona will continue to use him as a middle innings/bridge guy. He’ll take the spot that was supposed to be filled by Zach McAllister, Nick Goody and Dan Otero.
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This season Brad Hand has been the closer for San Diego, so far he has 24 saves in 29 save opportunities. The Indians now have three viable options to close games. Francona has shown over and over again a loyalty to “his guys” so I don’t believe that Hand will come in as the closer. I’d be surprised if Allen doesn’t stay as the main closer.
I say “main closer” because I think Tito will find a way to have Hand close at least a few times over the rest of the season. Hand will give the Indians another lefty to go with Andrew Miller, Tyler Olsen, and Oliver Perez. Having that many lefties will allow the Terry Francona to go to his best relievers in the highest leverage situations no matter when that occurs.
Once the Indians become fully healthy their bullpen can again become the dominant force that carried them to the 2016 World Series. Adding that to the starting pitching the Indians will have the potential to shut down any offense.
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The back-end of the bullpen can shorten games and allow the starting pitching to only have to pitch 5 or 6 innings. By addressing their biggest need the Indians have thrust themselves directly into the World Series discussion.