East Notes: Mets, Hand, Bradley, Yankees, Rays (www.mlbtraderumors.com)

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The Mets made an offer to free agent reliever Brad Hand that was “right in the ballpark” of the one-year, $10.5MM deal he agreed to with the Nationals, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link). New York was linked to Hand throughout the offseason, with team president Sandy Alderson acknowledging the club might’ve claimed him last fall had the team’s ownership change been finalized at the time Hand was available on waivers. After missing out on their top lefty bullpen target, the Mets could look into a Justin Wilson reunion, Heyman posits.

More news and notes from the game’s East divisions:

  • Elsewhere on the Mets, free agent center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is “on their radar,” hears Heyman (Twitter link). That’s hardly an indication New York is actively engaged in the bidding for Bradley, but he does make sense as a potential target for the Mets after they missed out on George Springer. Outfield isn’t necessarily an area of need, but acquiring a true center fielder would push current projected starter Brandon Nimmo into a corner role for which he might be better suited. Bradley is one of the game’s best defenders and coming off a strong 2020 season at the plate.
  • The Yankees tried to acquire Joe Musgrove and Jameson Taillon in a package deal with the Pirates before Pittsburgh traded Musgrove to the Padres, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). New York ended up pulling in Taillon for a package of four prospects this morning. Taillon and free agent signee Corey Kluber have been New York’s most important rotation pickups this winter.
  • The Rays are hiring former major league outfielder Denard Span as a special assistant in baseball operations, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. A Tampa native, Span spent part of the 2018 season playing for the Rays. The former first-rounder also played for the Twins, Nationals, Giants and Mariners over an eleven-year MLB playing career. Span explained his decision to retire as a player last June.

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