Deadline Coverage: Nats Lend the Jays a Hand

Jeff Zimmerman and I will be covering the fantasy relevant deals this week, highlighting the winners and losers and pointing out the actionable items for you in your leagues.

TOR gets: LH RP Brad Hand

WAS gets: C Riley Adams

Despite the recent struggles of Hand, the Jays brought the lefty veteran in to solidify their bullpen and perhaps even take over the closer’s role. Hand was dominating through early July with a 2.43 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 16% K-BB, and 19 SVs in 21 tries. An impossibly bad 5-game stretch saw him allow eight runs (seven earned) thanks to 11 base runners in just 4.7 innings. He blew three saves and collected three losses.

He rebounded with a perfect save his last time out on July 27th and the Jays obviously felt confident that his struggles were more of a blip than an unfixable problem. The question now is whether he takes over the closer’s role or shares it with Jordan Romano. My guess is Hand takes it. He is a proven capital-C Closer, and I think the Jays will prefer to have Romano in the fireman role where he has excelled.

Until we get full confirmation from the Jays on the expected usage between the two, don’t cut Romano, but you might want to start planning for supplemental saves if he was a part of your plan. I’m not sure going for Hand’s replacement will offer much refuge, either, unless Daniel Hudson is inexplicably not dealt. I’d be floored if the 34-year-old isn’t moved, though. He was one of the 12 people that got COVID on the Nats, but he’s been brilliant this year (2.20 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 32% K-BB% in 32.7 IP) and is a free agent after this year.

Assuming he’s gone, I’m looking at Kyle Finnegan (3.38 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 13% K-BB in 40 IP) as my main target. Tanner Rainey is fresh off the IL, but he has been rough this year: 6.93 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 9% K-BB in 24.7 IP. We are talking single-digit bids for Finnegan in saves desperate deep league situations, though. The Nats are likely going to make multiple more deals including possibly Max Scherzer so they aren’t going to win a ton of games the rest of the way anyway.

In Adams, the Nats are getting a 40-grade catching prospect who slotted 20th on the Jays list and has a good arm and some impressive raw power. His size (6’4/225) and lack of premium catching defense will relegate him to a backup role or could even move him off the position altogether if his bat develops to a level where he merits more playing time.

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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9 months ago

Of course I had both Romano and Hand…so I probably need to see how this plays out before making a roster move. In a league where Holds get 3 points, is Emmanuel Clase a good consideration to replace Romano, assuming he is more likely to lose value?