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Report: Rays ink Cody Hall to minor league deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have signed right-handed relief pitcher Cody Hall to a minor league deal. Hall elected free agency from the Giants last month, splitting his season between their Double-A affiliate and the independent Atlantic League Lancaster Barnstormers in his first year without a single major league outing.

The 29-year-old reliever last appeared in the big leagues during the 2016 season, logging just three innings (and a 12.00 ERA) with the Marlins before getting jettisoned in mid-August. He was given a longer leash in the minors last season, turning in a cumulative 3.09 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 12.0 SO/9 in 43 2/3 innings for Richmond and Lancaster.

The bullpen is still a big question mark for the Rays as they look toward the 2018 season, with Brad Boxberger, Steve Cishek, Sergio Romo and Tommy Hunter already gone and Alex Colome likely on the chopping block. Hall could find a few innings as a depth piece, but appears unlikely to latch onto a full-time role with limited major league experience under his belt.

Padres trade Brad Hand, Adam Cimber to the Indians for Francisco Mejia

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Diego Padres have traded closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to the Cleveland Indians. In return the Padres are getting top catching prospect Francisco Mejia.

Hand, the Padres’ All-Star closer, has a 3.05 ERA and 65/15 K/BB ratio and 24 saves over over 44.1 innings of work this season. In addition to helping an Indians bullpen which has struggled mightily this season, Hand will provide an insurance policy for the next two seasons given that both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are due to hit free agency this winter. Hand, meanwhile, is under contract for this year and next for a total of $13.5 million, with a $10 million club option for 2021.

Cimber is another fine reliever who, along with Hand, suddenly transforms the Indians’ bullpen. He’s a 27-year-old rookie, but he’s been a very useful one this year, posting a 3.17 ERA in 42 games, with a K/BB ratio of 51/10 in 48.1 innings. He’s pitched even better than that of late and has been particularly hard on righties. He’s under team control through 2023.

In Mejia, the Padres are getting the Indians’ top hitting prospect. A catcher — though not necessarily a great defensive one — Mejia has struggled in brief stints in the big leagues thus far but is a .291/.344/.438 hitter in six minor league seasons and, at times, has shown star potential. He turns 23 in October.

A nice piece for the Padres in the long term and an immediate upgrade to the Indians’ bullpen in the short term. In short: a baseball trade.