The Toronto Blue Jays are finalizing a trade for veteran lefty reliever Brad Hand of the Washington Nationals, sources tell Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Nationals will receive minor league catcher Riley Adams in return.
The 31-year-old Hand has a 3.59 ERA and 2.33 K/BB ratio this season in 41 appearances for the Nationals. Along the way, he's picked up 21 saves in 26 opportunities. For his career, he owns a 3.02 ERA and 3.47 K/BB ratio as a reliever, a span that includes 394 bullpen appearances across 11 seasons. Hand does have 43 career starts, but he hasn't logged one since 2015.
With Toronto, Hand figures to get some save opportunities but might share closer duties with the right-handed Jordan Romano. When it comes to playing match-ups with Hand, it's worth noting that, thanks in part to his low arm angle, he's limited left-handed batters to a slash line of .188/.261/.295 over his career.
The Blue Jays right now are two games above .500 and occupy fourth place in the AL East. However, they're also a workable 4 1/2 games out of second wild card position in the AL.
On the Nats' side of things, Adams, 25, is a former third-rounder out of the University of San Diego who's appeared in 12 games for Toronto this season at the major league level. In 35 games for Triple-A Buffalo this season, he's batted .239/.371/.487 with seven home runs. Adams has an OPS of .783 across parts of four minor league seasons.
The Hand trade may signal that a more thorough recent is in the offing for the Nationals before Friday's trade deadline. Most notably, rumors have swirled about ace Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner. The buzz seems stronger regarding Scherzer, who increasingly seems like he might be dealt to an NL West team before the deadline arrives.