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July 24, 2017

It’s the Brad Hand Show, starring Brad Hand! General manager A.J. Preller has made no secret of his intention to aim high with his All-Star middle reliever with a 2.12 ERA, seeking a package comparable to the Yankees’ haul when they traded another southpaw, Andrew Miller, to the Indians last July.

What happens next will offer an intriguing test into how teams evaluate relievers. On the one hand, Hand wasn’t particularly good until last season, having come to the Padres after the Marlins (the Marlins!) let him go in April 2016 for nothing. Are teams that hung up on who’s pitching well now that one of them will empty the farm system for Hand? Or will buyers hold the line, remembering that relievers are the most fickle commodities in baseball, and that a pitcher who was a waiver claim just 15 months ago could start unraveling just as quickly as he started producing?

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