Cleveland Indians: Three players that could become the Tribe’s closer

Relief pitcher James Karinchak #99 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Relief pitcher James Karinchak #99 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
1 of 4

The Cleveland Indians could decline Brad Hand’s option for next season to save $10 million, but who would become the Tribe’s closer?

One of the free agent decisions that the Cleveland Indians will have to make this offseason will be whether or not to pick up closer Brad Hand‘s option for the 2021 season, a contract that would cost the club $10 million. For a team that is stuck on saving money, this seems like a no-brainer.

Hand was more than reliable during the 2020 season, being perfect on save opportunities, but his season ended in a way that will make fans think negatively about him all offseason. Unfortunately, that could be the last memory of Hand in an Indians’ uniform.

Hand will be 31-years old when the 2021 season begins, an age that is older than any of the recent Indians closers have made it to. Despite still being effective, his age and contract might be just enough for him to play somewhere else next season.

So this begs the question, who could become the closer for the Cleveland Indians in 2021? Well, we’ve already been given a glimpse of two candidates and have heard good things about a third.

Overall, the Indians bullpen pitched rather well over the course of the 2020 season, with the exception of a few hiccups, which all teams go through. However, throughout the season there were certain names that were consistently called on in clutch situations that could emerge as candidates to control the ninth inning.

While the Indians could technically bring in a free agent for the role, that seems to go against the idea of saving money. For that reason, the next closer is likely to come from within the organization. There’s a chance of a closer by committee for a bit to find the right guy, but there’s a good chance that the front office or coaching staff already has someone in mind. Here are three players that could be in the mix.