Joel Hanrahan: Winners and Losers from Closer's Move to Boston Red Sox

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIDecember 26, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Joel Hanrahan #52 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after giving up a home run in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the game on September 30, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Reds defeated the Pirates 4-3.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox acquired closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and while the team will benefit from an added arm in the bullpen, there are others who will look back on this deal with regret.  

SportsCenter reported the trade via Twitter and also noted that the Red Sox have no doubts about the role he will play in Boston.

The Red Sox have acquired P Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates and informed him that he will be Boston's closer.

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 26, 2012

The Associated Press (via The New York Daily News’) provided the following details on the trade:

Boston completed the trade Wednesday, also receiving infielder Brock Holt. The Red Sox gave up right-handers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. and first baseman-outfielder Jerry Sands.

Here are the winners and losers from the deal.



Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox definitely got the better deal in this trade. From the Pirates point of view, it may have been a necessary move, but that does not make it beneficial.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal broke down the Pirates’ motivation to pull the trigger on this deal:

Hanrahan projects to earn almost $7 million in arbitration, then become a free agent. The Pirates redirected most of the savings to free-agent left-hander Francisco Liriano, and they still may have enough to sign a budget free agent. So, the trade is effectively a 5-for-2 and maybe even a 6-for-2.

Getting rid of a player it could not afford in order to add prospects is a decision a small-market team has to make sometimes, but it still gave up a pitcher who has 76 saves in the past two seasons without receiving a quality player who can contribute immediately.

Ultimately Boston did well to take advantage of the position Pittsburgh was in and added a quality player.


Joel Hanrahan 

While the Pirates did have a better record than the Red Sox last year, this is an extremely beneficial move for Hanrahan.

Boston is a big market with the resources to rebuild its roster, and the front office is finally going about this process the right way. The team gained a significant amount of financial flexibility in last season’s blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and hired an exciting young manager in Farrell.

Hanrahan has been handed the closing job and will not be in a position where he has to compete for time on the mound.

He will play out this year, decide if he enjoys the situation he is in with the Red Sox, and have options regarding his future. 



Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates did what was necessary in this trade, but they have continued a disturbing pattern.

Pittsburgh gave up pitcher Jeff Suppan for prospects in 2003 and did the same with outfielder Jason Bay in 2008. Now, the team has once again sent a productive player to Boston without getting one in return.

The Pirates looked promising at one point last season, and there is talent on the roster. But if the team continues to prioritize the future way above the present, its moderate success will not continue.

While this was not a terrible deal for the team, the Pirates are ultimately still the loser in this trade.


The Other AL East Teams

This division is already tough enough, and the last thing the other teams in the AL East want is for the Red Sox to continue getting better.

The Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees were both in the postseason in 2012, and the Tampa Bay Rays were in the mix late in the year. The Toronto Blue Jays exploits this offseason have been well publicized, and Boston is now a better team.

This will be an incredibly competitive division, and it will be fascinating to watch these five teams battle.

While the other AL East teams will not be happy about this trade, MLB fans are winners as it will produce several fantastic matchups next season.