Tigers Sign Joel Hanrahan

11:29am: Hanrahan’s base salary is $1MM, and he can earn up to $3MM total after incentives, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter).

11:10am: Acknowledging a need for bullpen help, the Tigers announced today that they’ve signed right-hander Joel Hanrahan to a one-year, incentive-laden Major League contract. Hanrahan will begin the season on the disabled list and build up arm strength in the minors before joining the big league club, according to GM Dave Dombrowski. Detroit was one of five teams recently reported to have “strong” interest in the Reynolds Sports Management client.

Joel  Hanrahan

The 32-year-old Hanrahan is two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of the Tommy John/flexor mass repair surgery that cost him the majority of the 2013 campaign. Roughly two weeks ago, Hanrahan impressed at a showcase for interested teams that saw upwards of 20 Major League clubs attend. Reports from the showcase said he looked to be in good physical condition and was throwing as hard as 93 mph despite being just 11 months removed from surgery.

A two-time All-Star, Hanrahan posted a 2.59 ERA with 10.4 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and 82 saves in 229 1/3 innings with the Pirates from 2009-12 before a trade that sent him to Boston last in the 2012-13 offseason. Hanrahan fits the Tigers’ affinity for power arms, as his 96.5 mph average fastball from 2011-13 ranked seventh in the game among qualified relievers.

Detroit’s bullpen took a hit before the season even began, when it was learned that fireballing setup man Bruce Rondon would require Tommy John surgery and miss the 2014 season. That loss and a lack of quality internal options has led the Tigers to a collective 5.37 ERA from their relievers thus far in 2014 — second-worst in the Majors. When he is healthy enough to take the field, Hanrahan will presumably slide into a setup role alongside Joba Chamberlain, Al Alburquerque and Ian Krol to help bridge the gap to closer Joe Nathan.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick was the first to connect Hanrahan to a press conference that the Tigers had scheduled (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the agreement (Twitter link), and Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish added that it’s a Major League deal (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


43 Responses to Tigers Sign Joel Hanrahan Leave a Reply

  1. JacksTigers 1 year ago

    Tigers need all the bullpen help they can get. This can’t be a bad deal.

    • Karkat 1 year ago

      Based on how Hanrahan failed in Boston last year, it definitely could be :p

      • Denny Doyle 1 year ago

        He didn’t fail. He was injured.

        • Karkat 1 year ago

          In the small amount of time he pitched, he did so very poorly because he couldn’t locate pitches and his velocity was down. His velocity is still down.

          • Denny Doyle 1 year ago

            His velocity was down because he had a torn labrum. Thats why he was hit so hard in the 7 innings he pitched for the Sox. It was clear from day one of spring training something was wrong.

            7 innings pitched, then TJS, doesn’t constitute a failure.

          • Bailey was the Sox reliever with the torn labrum.

          • Denny Doyle 1 year ago

            Correction: Tendon.

          • I get what you’re saying and you’re not wrong in crediting his diminished velocity to his injury. But this isn’t a slam dunk and Tigers’ fans shouldn’t assume he’s going to be the set up man they need. There’s no knowing what sort of pitcher he’ll be post TJ. Karkat is also correct about pitch locations and there’s no knowing whether or not that will be fixed.

          • Denny Doyle 1 year ago

            I get what your saying, and agree. I haven’t said anything that would contradict that point. I just didn’t agree with calling the 7 innings in 2013 as “failed in Boston”. Especially, without any mention of the severity of his injury.

            If I were a GM, I’d definitely be interested in pitchers after they’ve had TJS. Many of them seem to bounce back nicely from the surgery. Some even pitch better than they had before. I would treat it as a buy-low situation.

            K. Wood, Smoltz, Carpenter, Wainwright, Lackey, John Johnson, Hudson, Wagner, Zimmerman, Nathan, Strasburg: All returned nicely from TJS. Thats not bad company to be in.

          • They were failed. We gave up Melancon and paid him a lot of money and got nothing in return except for Brock Holt.

            His injury was severe, which is why people are skeptical.

          • Denny Doyle 1 year ago

            His personal achievement would be how you judge him. It has nothing to do with who he was traded for. He didn’t make the trade, he didn’t get a say in it. If you want to look at it that way, its the Red Sox who failed. So to counter your point. No, he didn’t fail.

            Also, I like Brock Holt, I think he’ll be a very good utility infielder, very soon. (As soon as they give up on Herrera)

          • I look at from his output. 7.1 IP 8 ER.

          • Denny Doyle 1 year ago

            So you’ve changed your reasoning since your last post, 9 minutes ago. So no pitcher should try to work through an injury for fear of “failing”.

            7.1 innings is far too small of a sample to judge a player by. He certainly didn’t hurt the overall team last year (They won the WS). I’m going with an “Incomplete, due to injury”.

          • My views are the same. I’m not implying that he shouldn’t have taken the field at all, just that his Sox time was a failure. You can call it an incomplete if you want, it doesn’t really matter.

          • johnsilver 1 year ago

            Hanrahan has always been somewhat wild. He needs that velocity though as have noted before to get his below average slider to get by. No 97+FB, that slider ain’t going to cut it.

          • johnsilver 1 year ago

            Hanrahan was 97-99 in his early starts, only after the HR to Doumit did his velocity start to dwindle.

            If you check out Fangraphs, can see his velocity, the short time he was active was actually UP in 2013 compared to every season of his except 2012 (96.6).

            Velocity was not the problem before he got hurt, IMO, he tried pitching through it and his velocity was dwindling a little at a time from that point, similiar to what Lackey did. Hanrahan is a competitor and he may have hurt the team doing it? But I will take bull dog types over could care less Beckett and Bedard’s any day.

    • What if he’s bad? Then is it a bad deal?

      • JacksTigers 1 year ago

        No, because it’s a one year deal for not much money and the Tigers need bullpen help. If he’s bad then you just scrap him and move on like you would any other bad pitcher. He’s not tied into a lot of many or years.

  2. bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

    Great job MLBTR getting this up so quickly!

    Great job for DD in getting a credible Rondon replacement.

    7/8/9 of Chamberlain/Hanrahan/Nathan is at least average now (assuming Hanrahan is 90% back). Krol and Al Al look reliable as well. Suddenly, the bullpen seems OK.

    • tigers22 1 year ago

      I agree. Cautiously optimistic about a Joba, Hanny, Nathan 7/8/9

      • misunderestimated 1 year ago

        Good to have another option. The bullpen is still not a strength by any means but hopefully it won’t be such a liability.

        • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

          Bullpen actually could be a strength for the playoffs (assuming they get there). Smyly (or Porcello) and maybe Ray could make Tigers bullpen fantastic in the playoffs.

  3. Zachary Eick 1 year ago

    Thank the lord that this happened! Insert him in the 8th, push everybody else back, and you solved 3 bullpen issues in one move.

    • johnsilver 1 year ago

      Careful about that. Early reports were that Hanrahan was still only touching 93mph. His slider isn’t all that good, never was, just had people off guard expecting his 97-99mph FB.

      A Hanrahan only touching 93 may be of as little use as Chamberlain, except he won’t melt under pressure. Let’s hope that he regains most of that velocity between now and July, then Detroit may have another viable closer candidate.

      • Steve Adams 1 year ago

        From 2011-12, only five relievers in baseball had a slider that topped Hanrahan’s in terms of runs above average (per 100 thrown). He was hitting 93 two weeks ago and will have another probably four to six weeks to build arm strength before joining Detroit’s bullpen.

        • Denny Doyle 1 year ago

          Agree with Steve. He’s wasn’t 12 months past TJS, when that 93mph was clocked. I would certainly think Hanrahan’s fastball has a bit to climb. Lots of TJS pitchers find an increase in velocity after the surgery.

      • Zachary Eick 1 year ago

        I considered Joba a buy low situation, expecting not too much good to be coming from him this year (for the same price I would’ve kept Jose Veras, but then he blew up in the Cubs’ face so its an either or situation now). If I was Ausmus, Joba is becoming part of the group getting to my set up man before Hanrahan comes in. AlAl, Krol, and Reed would all be part of my set up committee depending on what the situation was.

  4. Troy 1 year ago

    Hope they release Coke to make room

    • Zachary Eick 1 year ago

      they outrighted Belfiore, but they will be making another move soon for Ray so there is still hope.

  5. Troy 1 year ago

    Very excited about this

  6. Could be good, could be bad. Hanrahan’s slider is pretty nasty, but from the looks of the Tigers’ bullpen there could be very unrealistic expectations for what he’ll be capable of. There’s little downside to this I guess.

    • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

      Rank the following:

      Chamberlain, Hanrahan, Al Al, Krol. Who should get 7th and 8th inning?

      • You’ve mentioned Derek Jeter trades in past discussions so I’d rather not.

        • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

          Huh? Sounds like Strawman logic to me.

          Here is my answer:

          Regular season (post season):
          7th: Chamberlain (Porcello/Smyly)
          8th: Hanrahan
          9th: Nathan

          Krol: primary lefty (Smyly?)
          Al Al: next best righty (Chamberlain, if #5 pitcher moves to 7th inning)

          That is not bad at all.

          • No it’s not strawman logic. It’s referring to the lack of desire I have to rank people based solely on your demand to based on past posts you’ve made, which often involve ridiculous trade scenarios.

            But while we’re at it, do you really expect Hanrahan to nail down the setup job?

          • Mr Pike 1 year ago

            Hanrahan as the setup man? No, because Joba Chamberllain seems to be fitting nicely into that role. The same guy who Dombrowski was widely criticized, if not ridiculed, for signing this winter.
            bobbleheadguru is not alone in his assessment. There seems to a lot of early local media support for the idea that some combination of Hanrahan and Chamberlain could fill the 7th and 8th inning roles by Labor Day.
            Optimistic, for sure, crazy, no.

          • Too early to tell on Chamberlain, though he’s given reason for optimism as of late.

            Hanrahan isn’t going to be ready for a month. He and Joba could in theory be the set up men down the stretch, but that’s a lot of speculation.

          • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

            You do have a good memory REVMURPH… I will give you that! :)

          • Thanks. I don’t have anything against you, but you wanted me to do something that I wouldn’t do without doing some research and that’s not something I want to do.

  7. tune-in for baseball 1 year ago

    Low risk with an excellent upside possibility. Good news for Detroit, but it should just be the start of our bullpen transformation. How about a “change of scenery” trade with the Diamondbacks. We swap left-handed relievers, Coke for Perez or Thatcher. Arizona gets 1 year of Coke for about $500K of salary relief for Thatcher or free up $2.5mill they would owe Perez in 2015. If they keep struggling, a salary dump could be in their very near future..

  8. sflomenb 1 year ago

    A great opportunity to improve the Phillies bullpen has been wasted…

  9. MrMetFan akaSell theTeamFred! 1 year ago

    Anyone not surprised that Mets ownership can’t spend 1-4m to upgrade their dubious pen! Forgetaboutit!

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