In their constant search for bullpen help, the Detroit Tigers have plucked right-hander Joel Hanrahan off the free-agent market, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
tigers agree to deal with joel hanrahan— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) May 2, 2014
The reliever confirmed the move on Twitter on Friday:
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN and Matthew B. Mowery of The Oakland Press provided general manager Dave Dombrowski's thoughts on the deal and Hanrahan's status:
It's a one-year deal for Joel Hanrahan. He'll join #tigers team in Lakeland. Dombrowski says "no specific time frame'' for return.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) May 2, 2014
DD: "We think this is a situation that is well worth the gamble for us." #Tigers— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) May 2, 2014
Mowery also delved deeper into the reliever's health and relayed a quote from Hanrahan's agent Larry Reynolds:
Hanrahan: I was happy with where my velocity was at the workout. ... I think the more I throw, the more the velocity will come up.— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) May 2, 2014
Reynolds: "In terms of health, our doctors have said he's ready to go now. It's just a matter of building up strength." #Tigers— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) May 2, 2014
James Schmehl of MLive.com reported the roster move made to bring Hanrahan to Detroit:
#Tigers have outrighted contract of left-hander Mike Belfiore to Triple-A Toledo to clear spot on 40-man roster for Joel Hanrahan.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) May 2, 2014
Hanrahan hasn't pitched in a Major League Baseball game since May 6, 2013 with the Boston Red Sox. He underwent surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right arm that prematurely ended his year.
Now 32, Hanrahan was unable to drum up any interest in the offseason while he continued his rehab. The two-time All-Star started to throw for teams recently, with Heyman listing the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Rockies along with Detroit as interested parties.
The Tigers had the most obvious need, ranking 29th in bullpen ERA, a fact that Dombrowski addressed in a discussion with ESPN's Buster Olney, via CBS Detroit:
We’ve had some long relief performances, that have not been very good for us, jump those numbers up. For example, if you look at Joe Nathan’s performance, who’s our closer right now, early in the season, he had a couple outings that really increased his earned run average a great deal at this point. Now he’s throwing the ball very well for us.
Olney was also quick to point out that the Hanrahan signing has obvious benefits for both him and the Tigers:
Joel Hanrahan is a good signing for the Tigers: They need him, and he can rebuild his value as he works his way back from elbow surgery.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 2, 2014
The Tigers have had bullpen woes for years but have always managed to patch something together because their starting rotation has been so good that they didn't need to use relievers as much as the average team.
That's not the case anymore because they traded Doug Fister to Washington and Anibal Sanchez is on the disabled list. The Tigers don't have the depth they once did, putting more pressure on a weak relief group.
Detroit still has the best roster in the American League Central and should win the division handily, but the addition of Hanrahan is as much a necessity as it is a luxury to add bullpen depth.
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