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Indians decline options on closer Hand, 1B Santana for 2021

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FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2020, file photo, Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Brad Hand delivers to Pittsburgh Pirates' Josh Bell during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland. The Cleveland Indians have declined contract options on Brad Hand and first baseman Carlos Santana for next season, decisions that will initially cut $27 million from the team's payroll. (AP Photo/Phil Long, File)

CLEVELAND – Brad Hand's solid season didn't earn him another one with the Indians.

Feeling the financial pinch from a shortened season, Cleveland declined Hand's $10 million contract option on Friday and also chose not to exercise options for either first baseman Carlos Santana ($17.5 million) or outfielder Domingo Santana ($5 million).

The club did exercise its $5.5 million option for catcher Roberto Pérez, who has been exemplary in handling one of the AL's best pitching staffs.

The team owes buyouts of $1 million to Hand, $500,000 to Carlos Santana and $250,000 to Domingo Santana, who are all free agents.

Cleveland previewed the Hand decision on Thursday, when the club placed him on outright waivers, hoping another team might claim him so they Indians would avoid the buyout. The 30-year-old Hand led the majors with 16 saves, but after they were unable to find a trade partner, the Indians decided to move on without the left-hander.

“With Brad it was a really difficult decision,” said Chris Antonetti, the team's President of Baseball Operations. "He’s been such a critical part of our team for the last few seasons. He did an extraordinary job in his role as a closer and also was a leader in the clubhouse, specifically within the bullpen group.

“In the end, we did take some time to explore the trade market for Brad and weren’t able to find a fit for him. Again, a very difficult decision.”

Antonetti had pointed toward the moves and a substantial cut in payroll earlier this month due to the team's financial hit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. MLB teams were not permitted to have fans at game in 2020.