The Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a trade involving Joel Hanrahan, Jim Bowden reports. Hanrahan, 31, has saved 82 games for the Pirates between 2010-2012. Outfielder Jerry Sands and pitcher Stolmy Pimentel are reportedly going to Pittsburgh in the deal.. Gordon Edes first broke news of the impending trade at ESPN Boston. Jon Heyman reports that the deal will ultimately involve six players, with two leaving Pittsburgh and four shipping out of Boston.
The Red Sox were not prepared to enter 2013 with oft-injured Andrew Bailey as their only late innings option, clearly. Hanrahan saved 36 games with the Pirates in 2012, but his velocity was down a couple ticks from 2011, and his peripherals took a dive as well. Still, SAVES are the thing.
You can’t really blame the Red Sox for making a move to bring in another experienced arm, it’s not like Alfredo Aceves and Bailey were overly effective in 2012. Aceves led the Red Sox with 25 saves last season, but his peripherals are best left unspoken of. Bailey saw just 15.1 innings of work due to a thumb injury, saving six games in nine chances. Hanrahan finished 2012 with a 2.72 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 4.28 xFIP, and 67 K in 59.2 innings to go along with his 36 saves. A considerable step back from the 1.83 ERA, 2.18 FIP, 2.98 xFIP, and 61 K in 68.2 innings of work in 2011.
Neal Huntington missed his chance to move Hanrahan at his peak value last summer when the Pirates were masquerading as contenders well into July, but the return on today’s trade seems to be of fair value. Hanrahan is arbitration eligible for the third time this winter, with MLB Trade Rumors projecting his salary to be somewhere in the range of $6.9 million.
Jerry Sands joins his third team since July, having been acquired from the Dodgers in the Nick Punto trade. Sands hit 55 home runs between 2011-2012 with the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque, but at 25 he hasn’t been able to prove he’s a capable MLB outfielder in 251 plate appearances. Pimentel, so I’ve been told, is a hard throwing right-hander that’s had some struggles thus far through the minors.
Jason Grilli, whom the Pirates re-signed to a two-year deal on December 10, would be the obvious choice to assume the closer’s role with Hanrahan gone.
Update: The Red Sox and Pirates finalized the trade on December 26, with Brock Holt joining Hanrahan in the move to Boston. The Pirates will also receive Mark Melancon and Ivan De Jesus. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that Red Sox assistant GM Brian O’Halloran has indicated that John Farrell plans on using Hanrahan, not Andrew Bailey, as the team’s closer next season.