Big League Stew

Report: Red Sox, Pirates agree to trade involving Joel Hanrahan

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Looking to solidify their late inning bullpen setup, the Boston Red Sox have a deal in place to acquire closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pittsburgh Pirates in what will amount to a six-player upon conclusion, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

It’s reported there will be one more player heading to Boston in the trade, with outfield prospect Jerry Sands coming back to Pittsburgh along with right-hander Stolmy Pimentel and two additional players.

Of course this will all be contingent on the players involved passing physicals, but at this point that appears to be the final hurdle remaining.

Hanrahan, 31, is clearly the headliner in the deal. He's coming off back-to-back all-star worthy seasons in which he posted a 2.24 ERA overall and converted 76 out of 84 save chances. He also averaged one strikeout an inning over 128 1/3, but struggled with command, walking 50 unintentionally. That number should be of some concern to Boston, especially in a division that is filled with more patient and all-around dangerous hitters than the National League Central.

It's believed Boston views Hanrahan as insurance to incumbent closer Andrew Bailey, whom they acquired from the Oakland A's last offseason, and would be comfortable using him in that role if needed. Hanrahan made $4.1 million in 2012 and will be due a nice raise in arbitration. Bailey, too, is arbitration eligible.

As for the Pirates, they'll now turn to recently re-signed reliever Jason Grilli to fill their closer role. The 36-year-old right-hander served as Clint Hurdle's setup man for most of the season and did well, posting a 2.91 ERA. He has five career saves in ten seasons.

The centerpiece of the trade coming back to Pittsburgh will be 25-year-old corner outfielder Jerry Sands. If you recall, he was expected to make a big splash with the Dodgers in 2011 after posting some huge offensive numbers at Triple-A Albuquerque, but failed to live up to the hype in Los Angeles. He was then traded to Boston in August as the player to be named later in the Adrian Gonzalez deal and will now look to take the next step in Pittsburgh. That won't be easy, though, as the Pirates have no shortage of options on the corner outfield and even at first base, where many believe Sands will spend time in the future.

All in all, it's not exactly the most inspiring return for Pittsburgh unless one of the two unnamed players turn out to be a higher valued prospects than expected. Then again, if Sands does end up figuring it out or one of the other prospects steps forward that wouldn't look to bad either. But even in that scenario, you can't help but wonder if they could have waited a little longer to get one player that would undoubtedly impact their team in 2013.

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