Two Major League Baseball relief pitchers switched teams on Saturday during the same month that the 2023 MLB regular season is set to begin. The Colorado Rockies signed Brad Hand of Minneapolis, Minnesota to a one-year deal worth $2 million, and the Texas Rangers signed Will Smith of Newman, Georgia to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million according to spotrac.com.
Hand is joining his eighth Major League Baseball team. He previously pitched for the Florida/Miami Marlins (2011 to 2016), the San Diego Padres (2016 to 2018), the Cleveland Indians (2018 to 2020), the Washington Nationals (2021), New York Mets (2021), Toronto Blue Jays (2021), and Philadelphia Phillies (2022).
Smith is joining his sixth Major League Baseball team. He previously pitched for the Kansas City Royals (2012 to 2013), Milwaukee Brewers (2014 to 2016), San Francisco Giants (2016, 2018, 2019), the Atlanta Braves (2020 to 2022), and Houston Astros (2022). Smith won a World Series with the Braves in 2021. He was on the Astros World Series roster in 2022, but did not play a World Series game.
Brad Hand in 2022
In 2022, Hand pitched 55 games in Philadelphia, and had three wins and two losses with five saves and an earned run average of 2.80. In 45 innings pitched, he had 13 holds, and 38 strikeouts, and gave up 37 hits, 23 walks and 14 earned runs. Hand also had a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.33.
Will Smith in 2022
In 2022, Smith pitched 65 games with the Braves and Astros. He had a record of zero wins and three saves with five saves and an earned run average of 3.97. In 59 innings pitched, he had 16 holds, and gave up 58 hits, 26 earned runs, and 25 walks. Smith also had a WHIP of 1.41.
Hand and Smith have been an All-Star in the past. Hand was an All-Star with the Padres in 2017 and 2018, and the Indians in 2019. The year Hand was an All-Star with the Padres in 2018, he also played for the Indians. Smith meanwhile was an All-Star with the Giants in 2019. In a 2020 season with no All-Star Game, Hand led MLB with 16 saves.