MLB Trade Rumors: Examining the Red Sox's Acquisition of Joel Hanrahan

Christopher Benvie@CSBenvie81Correspondent IIDecember 23, 2012

PITTSBURGH - JULY 19: Joel Hanrahan #52 of the Pittsburgh Pirates points to his teammate Andrew McCutchen #22 after making a catch on a warning track in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the game on July 19, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

While the Boston Red Sox's trade for Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan is not yet completed, it appears as though both sides are in the final stages of getting a deal done, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.

Suffice to say, enough groundwork has been laid for us to take a solid look at what the Red Sox will be getting out of Hanrahan.

The first quip anyone may take with the man is his minus-0.4 WAR (wins above replacement) in 2012. To dispel any fears, fans should also know that he had the 10th most saves last season, with 36. Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had 38 for the Phillies, as a point of contrast.

As's Alex Speier points out, Hanrahan was an All-Star for the Pirates in each of his last two seasons while compiling 76 saves during that same time, which ranks him fifth among major league closers in that same period.

Hanrahan has posted a 2.27 ERA in his last 128.1 innings of work with a 1.162 WHIP.

He represents a significant upgrade over the 27 saves Alfredo Aceves provided the team in the past two seasons and affords the Red Sox the flexibility to utilize Andrew Bailey in a setup role.

Bailey has pitched the eighth inning 41 times in his career, owning a 0.96 ERA against 102 batters, versus his lifetime 2.40 ERA in the ninth inning.

Is it nitpicking? Absolutely it is.

However, having witnessed the decline of the Boston Red Sox over the last season (and a month, frankly) the front office needs to nitpick.

Additionally, Hanrahan has five well-developed pitches that are anchored by his mid-90s fastball and solid slider that sits in the mid-80s. He can showcase his sinker, curve and changeup from time to time.

What the Red Sox have done in acquiring Hanrahan is successfully shore up their bullpen to a point of comfort. They know that the eighth and ninth innings should be covered.

Additionally, by all accounts, Joel Hanrahan is another example of a fine clubhouse player, another step in the Red Sox separating themselves from the cancerous conditions of one season ago.