Winners and Losers of Joel Hanrahan Trade to the Boston Red Sox
Former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan has been traded to the Boston Red Sox, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, in a deal that affects teams and individuals from the East Coast to Southern California.
Aside from Hanrahan, the Red Sox receive infielder Brock Holt. In return, Pittsburgh gets four controllable players in infielder Ivan De Jesus, right-handers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel, and first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands.
While this news is a belated Christmas present for some around the league, many parties aren't amused.
Meet the winners and losers of the Hanrahan move.
Winner: Boston Red Sox
Manager John Farrell can work with an improved pitching staff.
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
The Boston Red Sox continue to revamp their bullpen, which struggled to hold leads throughout the 2012 season.
They signed strike-thrower Koji Uehara to a one-year deal earlier in December. He excelled as an MLB reliever with both the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.
Now Joel Hanrahan can be counted on to solidify the ninth inning.
Loser: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers still want to add bullpen depth.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Another Joel Hanrahan suitor, the Los Angeles Dodgers, must feel disappointed. The 31-year-old has dominated them in the past, and they reportedly had interest in his services.
Now it's unclear where the team will find relief help.
The Dodgers could either enter 2013 with Brandon League as closer, overpay for Rafael Soriano or further deplete their farm system to trade for an established arm. Jon Heyman identifies Bobby Parnell and Chris Perez as fall-back options.
Winner: Pittsburgh Pirates
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
The Pittsburgh Pirates shaved millions of dollars off their 2013 payroll. Projections from Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors suggest Joel Hanrahan will earn $6.9 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility.
Newly acquired Mark Melancon could single-handedly make this a successful trade. He underachieved last season, but annihilated all opposition in September (0.90 ERA, .305 OPS against). Moreover, Melancon pitched well in high-leverage situations while with the Houston Astros in 2011.
General manager Neal Huntington can use the money that he won't be paying Hanrahan to address other needs as they arise.
Loser: Pittsburgh Pirates Fans
Joel Hanrahan entered games to this video montage.
Joel Hanrahan meant so much more to Pittsburgh than ordinary players do.
He led in the clubhouse and local communities throughout his tenure in the Steel City, and his electric stuff and entrance video excited the crowd during his appearances.
In a passionate post, Tom Smith of RumBunter.com thanked "Hammer" on behalf of all Pittsburgh Pirates fans.
Winner: Joel Hanrahan
Hanrahan's new team has a chance to make the postseason.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Every MLB player wants to contend for a championship, and Joel Hanrahan's new team can realistically do that next season.
Sure, the Boston Red Sox are coming off a 93-loss season, but look at how active they've been this winter.
Free-agent signings Stephen Drew and Shane Victorino improved the lineup, and Mike Napoli will be a productive slugger (if his deal ever becomes official). Ryan Dempster adds depth and personality to the starting rotation as well.
Perhaps most importantly, Boston has undone all of Bobby Valentine's damage by acquiring John Farrell to manage the team.
Also, being of Irish descent, Hanrahan should feel right at home in Beantown.
Loser: Left-Handed Batters in the American League
Curtis Granderson will be useless against the Boston Red Sox 'pen.
Leon Halip/Getty Images
MLB reporter Peter Gammons notes that Joel Hanrahan limited left-handed batters to an anemic .135 batting average last year. Setup man Koji Uehara enjoyed comparable success against them.
Three southpaws—Craig Breslow, Andrew Miller and Franklin Morales—are expected to pitch out of the Boston Red Sox bullpen, too.
Facing this team will be a nightmare for Curtis Granderson, Justin Morneau and other American League sluggers with ugly platoon splits.
Winner: Jason Grilli (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Grilli recently signed a two-year deal with the Pirates.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
By default, Jason Grilli will be the new Pittsburgh Pirates closer, according to Jon Heyman. Such a promotion should give him the notoriety that somebody of his ability deserves.
Grilli cruised through the first half of 2012 with a 1.87 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and a 3.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Duplicating those stats and getting saves should put him under NL All-Star consideration.
Loser: Andrew Bailey (Boston Red Sox)
Bailey missed most of 2012 and struggled when healthy.
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
The reconstructive thumb surgery Andrew Bailey underwent in April 2012 kept him sidelined until mid-August. He pitched with his usual velocity upon return, but the command wasn't there (1.89 WHIP).
The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year will need to regain his Oakland Athletics form if he expects to be used in high-leverage spots.
Bailey might find himself non-tendered next winter without a convincing rebound. High save totals early in his career earned the right-hander $3.9 million last season and will get him a similar salary again. He could be cut loose if price and performance don't correlate.