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Indians acquire All-Star closer Brad Hand

By PAUL HOYNES • Updated Jul 19, 2018 at 4:58 PM

CLEVELAND — The Indians have acquired All-Star closer Brad Hand and right-hander Adam Cimber from San Diego for top catching prospect Francisco Mejia.

The deal was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic and other sources.

Hand, a left-hander, just signed a three-year deal with Padres in January worth $19.75 million with a club option for 2021. This year he's 2-4 with a 3.05 ERA and 24 saves. He has 65 strikeouts and 15 walks in 44 1/3 innings.

Cimber is 3-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 42 games for the Padres this year. He's struck out 51 against 10 walks over 44.1 innings.

This fills a big hole in the Tribe's bullpen not only this year, but for the future as well. Closer Cody Allen, left-hander Andrew Miller and right-hander Zach McAllister are free agents at the end of the season. Hand is under the Tribe's control through at least 2020 with a $10 million club option for 2021. Cimber, a ninth-round pick of the Padres in 2013, is still a rookie.

This is the second time the Indians have traded Mejia. In 2016, the deal was stopped by Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy. This time the deal went through.

Mejia, who started the year as the Tribe's top prospect, struggled early at Class AAA Columbus, but had a great June with the bat. Still, he was blocked from the big leagues by All-Star Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez. The Indians tried to make him more versatile by playing him third base and the outfield, but there was an underlying feeling that he was reluctant to move from behind the plate.

This season, Mejia was promoted twice to the big leagues for short stays.

Hand, 28, has split his career between San Diego and the Miami Marlins.

His 24 saves are tied for third in the NL, while his 65 strikeouts rank fourth among NL relievers.

He was the Marlins' second-round pick in 2008. The Padres claimed him on waivers in April of 2016. Since the start of the 2016 season, he has a 2.66 ERA with 280 strikeouts in 213 innings, second in the big leagues to Dellin Betances (298) of the Yankees.

Cimber, 27, has a 2.16 ERA over in nine July appearances. For the season he's held right-handed hitters to a .210 (25-for-119) batting average against. He is under club control thru the 2023 season.

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