Report: Nationals agree to sign All-Star closer Brad Hand

WASHINGTON — Left-handed reliever Brad Hand finalized a one-year, $10.5 million contract with the Washington Nationals, giving the team more strength and flexibility in the back end of its bullpen.

The deal includes $6.5 million in salary that will be deferred without interest. The deferred money will come in payments due $1.5 million next Jan. 15, $3.5 million on Jan. 15, 2023, and $1.5 million on Jan. 15, 2024.

The 30-year-old Hand led the majors with 16 saves during the pandemic-truncated 2020 season for the Cleveland Indians, compiling a 2.05 ERA, .169 opponents’ batting average, 29 strikeouts and four walks in 22 innings over 23 appearances.

He did not allow a home run last season.

Cleveland declined Hand’s $10 million option after last season, triggering a $1 million buyout and making him a free agent eligible to sign with any major league club.

Hand’s fastball velocity has decreased more than 2 mph the past two seasons and averaged 91.4 mph last year.

Hand is a three-time All-Star, earning that honor in 2017, 2018 and 2019 after becoming a full-time reliever. He is 26-43 with 105 saves and a 3.65 ERA in 396 career games across 10 seasons in the big leagues, including 43 starts, for Cleveland, San Diego and Miami.

He joins a deep bullpen in Washington that already included Daniel Hudson, Will Harris and Tanner Rainey.

Since tying for last in the NL East in 2020, the Nationals and general manager Mike Rizzo have set out to address several glaring needs, adding Hand, lefty starter Jon Lester (pending a physical), slugging outfielder Kyle Schwarber and first baseman Josh Bell.

They also brought back the organization’s longest tenured player, Ryan Zimmerman, after he chose to sit out the season in 2020 because of concerns about the coronavirus’ effect on his family’s health.