Miami reportedly has interest in carrying two left-handed relievers this season. At this point, it does not look like Brad Hand will be one of them.
Spring statistics are not that telling, which in the past has been enough for the Marlins to justify giving Hand a roster spot. They have utilized him as both a starter and reliever. He has not had much success in either role. As the start of the 2016 campaign approaches, it is time to move on.
After joining the Marlins for the first time in 2011, Hand was optioned to Triple-A to open the 2012 season after pitching to a 4.20 ERA and 5.73 FIP over the first 60.0 innings of his major league career. He was optioned multiple times since, which has put the Marlins in an odd position.
Hand was a second round pick in the 2008 draft, and as result, the Marlins have had a clear desire to keep Hand on the roster for as long as possible. At this point in his career, Hand is out of options. If he doesn't make the 25-man roster, there is a chance other clubs can claim him.
In the past, that alone has seemingly been enough to make the organization hesitant. It should not be anymore.
Hand, 25, has pitched to a career 4.71 ERA. He is valuable because he is a left-handed pitcher capable of starting and pitching in relief, but he pitched to a 5.30 ERA and 4.08 FIP over 93.1 innings with the Marlins last season.
His 2014 numbers were not much better. Over 111.0 innings, Hand pitched to a 4.38 ERA and 4.20 FIP.
Hand's best season with the Marlins came in 2013, when he ended the year with a 3.05 ERA and 4.02 FIP. He only tossed 20.2 innings, though.
Each year, as spring training begins, the Marlins continue to consider Hand for a spot in either the rotation or the bullpen. His numbers from the previous year do not seem to matter. Miami gives Hand every opportunity to make the roster.
This year is no different, but the Marlins hired pitching guru Jim Benedict. Benedict has had success working with other pitchers in the past. Perhaps he would be able to turn Hand's career around.
About two weeks into spring training, Hand has not improved much. He has tossed five innings over three games. His ERA: 10.80.
Manager Don Mattingly wants to have a pair of left-handed relief options. Mike Dunn and Craig Breslow should be the two.
Miami could say Hand is competing for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. Justin Nicolino or Adam Conley are left-handed alternatives, though.
The Brad Hand experiment is not working. There is a chance Hand leaves the organization and has success.
Hand might benefit from a new environment. If he thrives elsewhere, it does not say much about the Marlins. Miami has given him the opportunities. He hasn't taken advantage.