The Washington Nationals began their sell-off Thursday, sending closer Brad Hand to the Toronto Blue Jays, the team announced.
The move comes one day before Friday’s trade deadline, and it could be the first of several trades general manager Mike Rizzo makes. Washington received 25-year-old Riley Adams in return from Toronto for Hand.
Hand joined Washington on a one-year deal this offseason, and he’s appeared in 42 2/3 innings this season with 21 saves and a 3.59 ERA. He has struggled of late, giving up a combined seven runs in three appearances between July 21 and July 26. He recovered Tuesday night, closing out a win against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Nationals announced outfielder Yadiel Hernandez took his place has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take Hand’s roster spot.
Adams has appeared in 12 major league games in his career. Across four seasons in the minors, he has a .262 average with a .783 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He’s ranked the No. 17 prospect in Toronto’s farm system, per MLB Pipeline.
This year in Triple-A East Buffalo, Adams is hitting .239 with seven homers in 35 games.
This is the first of a few deals Washington is expected to move ahead of the trade deadline, with starter Max Scherzer the headliner. Reliever Daniel Hudson, who was one of four players added to the injured list Thursday — a day after a coronavirus outbreak postponed Wednesday’s game, with 13 individuals within the organization testing positive — could also leave. Utilityman Josh Harrison is another player who could be dealt.