Report: Boston Red Sox Interested in Pirates Closer Joel Hanrahan

Andrew MartinCorrespondent IIIDecember 19, 2012

The Red Sox may have interest in obtaining Hanrahan.
The Red Sox may have interest in obtaining Hanrahan.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Despite having a deep bullpen heading into next season, it appears the Boston Red Sox may have interest in Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan.’s Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox have joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as teams interested in Hanrahan.

Heyman believes that Pittsburgh is open to trading Hanarahan because they could use him as bait to get another starting pitcher and use the recently re-signed Jason Grilli to close. 

The Dodgers could offer a veteran starting pitcher like Aaron Harang or Chris Capuano, while the Red Sox would likely have a package consisting of young players, including a pitcher, according to Heyman.'s Danny Knobler had previously tweeted that the Pirates were eager to trade Hanrahan.

People who have talked to the Pirates say they're pushing to move Hanrahan. Dodgers are one possibility.

— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 17, 2012

The right-handed Hanrahan is a six-year major league veteran, with a 22-17 record, 3.74 ERA and 96 saves in 353 career games. He came up with the Washington Nationals, but was sent to Pittsburgh during a mid-season trade in 2009.

Hanrahan has been a full-time closer for only the past two seasons, but has been very impressive during that stretch. He has been an All-Star both years, appearing in a combined 133 games, while posting a 2.24 ERA and 76 saves.

Possessing a big fastball that has averaged 95.5 mph since he debuted in 2007 according to, Hanrahan strikes out and walks a lot of batters. He has averaged 9.9 whiffs and 4.3 free passes per nine innings for his career.

Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors projects that the arbitration-eligible Hanrahan will earn about $6.9 million in 2013. He will become a free agent following the season, meaning if he was traded to the Red Sox, they could either re-sign him or be in a position to receive draft compensation if he were to go elsewhere.

If the Red Sox did trade for Hanrahan it would immediately raise speculation that more moves would be in the offing. Since the team already has Andrew Bailey as their closer, and Mark Melancon and Alfredo Aceves have previously closed; they represent a surplus that could be used as trade chips.

The Detroit Tigers could be a possible trade partner if the Red Sox did need to deal a reliever. With Jose Valverde heading elsewhere, the Detroit Free Press’ John Lowe wrote that 21-year-old untested rookie Bruce Rondon could be the closer if a veteran option wasn't found.

Boston could be interested in the Tigers’ surplus of starting pitching. The Detroit News’ Lynn Henning reported that right-handed Rick Porcello appears to be the odd man out after the team recently re-signed Anibal Sanchez.

Since Hanrahan doesn't appear to fit with Boston on paper, their interest suggests they may not feel comfortable with their current closing options. They may also value getting a draft pick by picking him up now and letting him walk following the 2013 season.

This appears to be a story that will unfold in the coming days. With Christmas approaching fast, could Red Sox fans possibly find an unexpected new closer under their trees if trade talks heat up?

Statistics via BaseballReference