After their 2017 playoff run ended in an ALDS loss to the Yankees, the Indians entered the 2018 trade deadline aggressive as they looked to sure up their roster for a deep postseason run.
To get the pair bullpen arms, the Indians parted ways with their top prospect at the time and baseball’s 15th ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline in catcher Francisco Mejia.
The deal ended up paying off for the remainder of the 2018 regular season for Cleveland as Hand pitched to a 2.28 in 28 games while recording eight saves with the Indians after the trade while Cimber posted a 4.05 ERA and also pitched in 28 games.
However, the relievers were not enough to propel the Indians deep into the postseason as the Houston Astros swept them in the ALDS.
Hand and Cimber remain with the club today. In 2019, Hand was named an all-star and posted a 3.30 ERA while locking down 34 saves. Cimber posted a 4.95 ERA in 68 games while picking up six wins and a save.
So far this season, Hand has struggled as his ERA stands at 4.70, but he has recorded seven saves. Cimber has been stellar in his six outings as he’s pitched to a 1.59 ERA.
As for Mejia, he had an up and down start to his career with the Padres. The catcher appeared in 20 games for San Diego in 2018 after the trade and slashed .185/.241/.389 with three home runs and eight RBI’s.
He played in 79 games for San Diego in 2019, slashing an improved .265/.316/.438 with eight home runs and 22 RBI’s, but in 16 games, this season has struggled slashing just .079/.146/.184 with a home run and two RBI’s. He is currently on the injured list with a thumb injury.
It’s too early to determine the winner of this trade, but the early verdict would favor Cleveland as Mejia hasn’t quite lived up to his top prospect status, while Hand and Cimber helped the Tribe to the postseason in 2018 while Hand earned all-star honors in 2019.