SAN DIEGO -- With one of the brightest farm systems in baseball, Padres general manager A.J. Preller was looking to lay a foundation for the team's up-and-coming core.
The Padres viewed left-hander Brad Hand as a major piece of that foundation, agreeing to a contract extension with the 27-year-old All-Star reliever on Saturday.
The signing, which covers three seasons with a club option for 2021, was announced by the Padres on Sunday. The total guaranteed money in the deal is believed to be within $18 million to $20 million, according to MLB Network insider Rosenthal.
"It's crazy to think about," Hand said Saturday at Padres FanFest. "You can't really put words to it. You never know in this game what's going to happen. The Padres gave me an opportunity and they saw something in me two years ago, which I'm very grateful for."
Hand was named to his first All-Star team last season and posted a 2.16 ERA with 21 saves and 104 strikeouts over 79 1/3 innings while going 3-4. He also set career highs with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a 5.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Padres selected Hand off waivers from the Marlins in April 2016 after he was designated for assignment. Hand said the Friars approached him a few weeks ago regarding an extension.
"Obviously, he's been a big-time performer," Preller said. "Over the last two years with us, he's been one of the best relievers in the game. He's filled all kinds of roles for [Padres manager Andy Green].
Hand was a popular name in trade discussions up until last season's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Preller said he still expects a lot of calls from opposing teams looking to acquire Hand, and that he's willing to listen to offers on any player.
"I've never really thought about the trade rumors in the first place; it is what it is," Hand said. "Like I've always said, it's out of my control. This doesn't mean that I still can't get traded, so I'm sure there are still going to be rumors out there."
Preller said he views Hand as a "winning piece" to mix in with the team's prospect nucleus. Hand was elated with the idea of being a leader of that group and also liked the idea of still being able to enter free agency at a younger age once his extension is up.
"To see some of the younger prospects that they've got coming up, it's real exciting," Hand said.
Since being acquired by the Padres, Hand has struck out 190 batters in 168 2/3 innings with a 2.56 ERA.
"Brad's a guy that's going to be in the bullpen and anchor a bullpen," Green said. "He has the skill and the makeup to be both of those things, and the resiliency, too. I haven't been around a pitcher that takes the ball as willingly and as often."