Braves should decline club option for Brad Hand
The Braves acquired Brad Hand in a midseason trade with the Colorado Rockies, which triggered a mutual option worth $7 million for the 2024 season. There's no doubt Hand will exercise his end of the option, but Atlanta should be extremely weary of spending so much money on Hand after his abysmal second half of the season.
Hand posted a 7.50 ERA and 1.389 WHIP in 20 games (18.0 innings pitched) with the Braves post-deadline. Simply put, he did not perform well enough to earn the contract value of his option. There is a $500K buyout tied to Hand's deal, but that's a drop of water in the ocean compared to a $7 million commitment.
The southpaw already sits behind A.J. Minter, Dylan Lee, and Tyler Matzek as lefties in the Braves' bullpen. Hand was an All-Star as recently at 2019, but he's another aging vet who, at 33 years old, doesn't pack the same punch he once did.
Atlanta needs to scour the free agent market for improvements to the bullpen, but expect the primary focus to be on right-handed relievers. The left-handed relievers are fairly solid and Hand's absence would not be deeply felt. The Braves gave up a decent prospect to acquire Hand at the deadline, but good front offices don't fall for the sunk cost fallacy. Anthopoulos should move on without losing sleep.