Joel Hanrahan Rumors
Even with the high cost of free agent pitching, Ervin Santana's hopes for a $100MM contract seemed a little far-fetched...or are they? Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looked at the binder of information that agents Bean Stringfellow and Joe White prepared about their client and saw a wealth of favorable statistics in Santana's favor, noting his durability, good health, and even comparisons to Zack Greinke. MLBTR's Steve Adams only predicted a five-year, $75MM deal for Santana on the open market but it only takes one team to make a leap.
Here's some news from around baseball...
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that the team has "real interest at different levels" in re-signing its six free agents, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. Cherington has "had conversations" about bringing back Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Joel Hanrahan and John McDonald, though Abraham reports that the team has most extensively discussed a new deal with Napoli.
- The Red Sox aren't expected to make acquisitions during the GM meetings this week, Cherington said.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman has "no idea" if Hiroki Kuroda is interested in returning to the club, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports. “My conversations with his agent, the only information I’ve gotten from that is he hasn’t made any decisions, what he wants to do as far as next year’s concerned," Cashman said. Kuroda has been rumored to be weighing re-signing with the Yankees, pitching in Japan or retiring, though a return to southern California to be closer to his family probably isn't out of the question either.
- Robinson Cano's next contract might not meet his expectations simply because the Yankees are the only team with the need and finances to come close to his demands, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes.
- Jason Bay isn't sure if he will play in 2014, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi tweets. The 35-year-old Bay was released by the Mariners in August and only has a .688 OPS in 1361 PA over his last four seasons, most of which were shortened by injury.
- Agent Barry Praver said that his clients Manny Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano were hoping to again play in the Major Leagues, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter links). Ramirez is staying in shape and would be open to playing in Japan, while Zambrano is pitching in the Venezuelan winter league.
- Wily Mo Pena is expected to re-sign in Japan, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (Twitter link). Pena signed a two-year, $5MM deal with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks following the 2011 season and enjoyed a big 2012 before suffering through an injury-plagued 2013 campaign. Nicholson-Smith notes that Pena had interested suitors in both Japan and North America. Pena turns 32 in January and hit .250/.303/.445 with 84 homers in 1845 career PA with the Reds, Red Sox, Nationals, Diamondbacks and Mariners from 2002-11.
Multiple reports indicate that the Red Sox are interested in Carlos Beltran, though the extent of that interest is somewhat up in the air. George A. King III of the New York Post reports that Boston is "aggressively" pursuing Beltran but are receiving early competition from the Yankees and Orioles. Elsewhere, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo tweets that the Red Sox do indeed have interest in the eight-time All-Star, but a team source tells him they haven't been very aggressive to this point. Here are some more BoSox items for your Friday morning...
- Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen appeared on WEEI's Hot Stove Show on Thursday to discuss David Ross and other internal catching options, how other teams may try to copy Boston's offseason strategy from last year and how the team could be more open to giving up their first round draft pick in order to sign a qualifying offer-rejecting free agent. WEEI.com's Alex Speier has a partial transcript of the interview.
- Another catching option could be Reds backstop Ryan Hanigan, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes. Hanigan is expected to be shopped now that Cincinnati has signed Brayan Pena, and Hanigan's defense and on-base ability would certainly be of interest to the Red Sox.
- Joel Hanrahanspoke with WEEI.com's Rob Bradford and discussed how difficult it was to watch from home in October this season -- the first time one of his teams had ever been to the playoffs: "...I didn’t want to take time away from the trainers who are trying to keep the guys on the field who are playing. I didn’t want to be in the way. It was tough for me, but it was a whole heck of a lot of fun watching at home and seeing the success they had." Hanrahan said he's received calls from multiple eams already to check in on his rehab and spoke highly of Boston's training staff and the organization as a whole. According to Bradford, Hanrahan is throwing from 120 feet and hopes to have a few bullpen sessions under his belt prior to the onset of Spring Training.
- The Sox may have six competent starters under contract for next season -- Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, John Lackey, Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster -- but GM Ben Cherington told MLB.com's Ian Browne that he doesn't envision trading one of them this winter.
- Barring a trade of Dempster or Peavy, WEEI.com's Alex Speier figures that the Red Sox will have just over $32MM to spend and still successfully avoid this year's $189MM luxury tax threshold. That number, theorizes Speier, could be the reason that the Red Sox couldn't afford to gamble on making qualifying offers to all three of Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Saltalmacchia, of course, was the odd man out and didn't receive a qualifying offer.
- In a separate piece, Speier provides an excellent breakdown of the CBA's calculation of average annual value for luxury tax purposes, explaining how Lester's AAV next season will jump to $9.37MM now that his option has been exercised.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Free agents are not allowed to negotiate with all 30 MLB clubs until 11:01 pm (CT) Monday, but agent Scott Boras says his phone was ringing off the hook regarding Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew within hours of the Red Sox winning the World Series, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Yankees will be the most interesting team during free agency, according to Cafardo, but will be hamstrung until a decision is made on Alex Rodriguez's appeal. Cafardo also lists the Phillies, Tigers, Giants, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rangers as active participants in the free agent market. In other tidbits from his Sunday Baseball Notes column:
- Both LA teams are interested in acquiring David Price from the Rays. The Angels may have a slight edge because they can put together package with bats like Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick while the Dodgers have an overstocked rotation.
- Joe Nathan should be of interest to both the Tigers and Yankees even though the latter seems to have settled on David Robertson as Mariano Rivera's replacement.
- There may be no better time for the Red Sox to trade John Lackey than right now.
- The Red Sox may consider re-signing Joel Hanrahan after he recovers from Tommy John surgery to provide protection for incumbent closer Koji Uehara.
- Franklin Gutierrez, whose $7.5MM club option was declined by the Mariners, is an intriguing player who can still perform at a high level when healthy. Staying healthy has been an issue for Gutierrez with six trips to the disabled list in the last four years.
- Johan Santana, whose $25MM club option was declined by the Mets, is another pretty good low-cost gamble.
Manny Ramirez is batting .352 for the Taiwanese EDR Rhinos and ranks second in the league with eight home runs. While that might not be enough for MLB teams to show interest in the controversial slugger, he's drawing interest from Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines, according to a Sponichi report (Japanese link). Marines Manager Tsutomu Ito said he'd like to "make an acquisition when the team is strong, as MLB teams do," and that he's looking to give the DH spot to a power hitter. While it seems that Manny will continue to "be Manny" overseas for the time being, here's more from around Major League Baseball...
- Joel Hanrahan regrets how his brief Red Sox tenure played out and wishes he could've shown more to the fans, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford notes that it's impossible to predict where Hanrahan will end up in free agency this winter, but the two-time All-Star isn't ruling out a return to Boston. Hanrahan told Bradford he "has a lot of things left to prove in Boston."
- ESPN's Keith Law examines the recent rash of top prospect promotions, offering his expectations for recent call-ups Wil Myers, Gerrit Cole, Mike Zunino and Zack Wheeler (ESPN Insider required).
- In light of Mark Teixeira re-injuring his wrist, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post questions the Yankees' decision to activate him from the disabled list in the first place. Davidoff points out that the World Baseball Classic paid for the $7.38MM that Teixeira earned while on the DL because he was injured preparing for the tournament. Now that he's been with the Yankees, the team will be on the hook for his remaining $15.12MM of salary even if he misses the remainder of the season.
After a 20-8 start to the 2013 season, the Red Sox have dropped nine of their past 11 games and now find themselves in third place. General manager Ben Cherington's squad is still just three games out of first place but will need to snap their skid promptly to keep up in the AL East. Here are some Sox-related links for your Wednesday afternoon...
- ESPN's Buster Olney appeared on the Mut & Merloni radio show in Boston, and Jerry Spar of WEEI.com has some of the highlights. "It's going to be a crusher" for Jacoby Ellsbury if he continues this season on his current trajectory, says Olney. Ellsbury, who ranks third on Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings, is hitting just .256/.321/.363 through 39 games. Olney wonders if Ellsbury would gamble on signing a one-year deal rather than settling for a fraction of the $100MM he could have pushed for with a repeat of his 2011 numbers.
- Within that same interview, Olney discussed Boston's decision to trade for Joel Hanrahan this offseason, noting that the Red Sox knew there were some health issues at the time of the trade. Many teams were aware of the issues with Hanrahan, which is why the Pirates didn't get much of a return for their two-time All-Star. Hanrahan joins a long list of players that must re-establish their value before getting paid, says Olney.
- Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston takes a look back at last summer's blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, noting that Loney has departed to the Rays, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Jerry Sands were included in the Hanrahan deal but Allen Webster and Rubby de la Rosa have looked good. Edes runs down each player the Dodgers received as well as the future financial implications for the Sox. "This will be a good deal for the Dodgers only if they are playing in October," Edes writes. "It may be years before we know how good a deal it was for the Red Sox."
Earlier this morning the Red Sox acquired Mike Carp from the Mariners for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The move provides the Red Sox with another lefty hitting option while creating some additional pressure for other players competing for playing time. Here’s the latest on the Red Sox...
- The Red Sox aren’t expected to give up a significant prospect in the deal, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports. Carp is out of options and takes up a 40-man roster spot, which limited his trade value. The primary cost of acquiring Carp was cash, Speier writes.
- Lyle Overbay, who joined the Red Sox on a minor league deal earlier this year, could be the odd man out now that the Red Sox have acquired Carp. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if Overbay could end up returning to the Brewers, who now need a first baseman (Twitter link). Overbay told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he's prepared to compete for a roster spot with the Red Sox.
- Joel Hanrahan is willing to discuss an extension with the Red Sox if the team is interested, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. "It has been great here so far," Hanrahan said.
- Kevin Youkilis said the Red Sox called his agent during the offseason, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (Twitter link). Discussions didn't intensify and the longtime Red Sox star signed with the Yankees.
The Red Sox and Joel Hanrahan avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $7.04MM, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. Hanrahan, a Reynolds Sports Management client, will earn 15K for completing 45 games, 50 games, 55 games and 60 games.
Acquired from Pittsburgh in a trade last month, Hanrahan had a projected salary of $6.9MM. The 31-year-old had been arbitraiton eligible for the third and final time following a season in which he saved 36 games and posted a 2.72 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings. He remains on track to hit free agency next offseason.
On the heels of back-to-back All-Star appearances, the Pirates have traded away their closer one year before he hits free agency. Pittsburgh has dealt Joel Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt to the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Mark Melancon, first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands, infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., and right-hander Stolmy Pimentel. Both teams have announced the trade.
Hanrahan, 31, pitched to a 2.72 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh last season. Despite having a reputation as a strong closer, some rival evaluators have been concerned about his conditioning and recent proclivity for walks. Hanrahan's walk rate climbed from 2.1 BB/9 in 2011 to 5.4 BB/9 in 2012. Matt Swartz projects the right-hander to earn $6.9MM through arbitration this winter after pulling down $4.1MM in 2012. Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal notes he will not net the Red Sox a compensation draft pick if he signs elsewhere based on the assumption Hanrahan will accept a pricey qualifying offer (Twitter links).
Melancon, 27, pitched to a 6.20 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 45 relief innings with the Red Sox after being acquired from the Astros last winter. He spent some time in Triple-A as well, then returned to the big league club at midseason. Melancon struck out 40 and walked just ten in his final 43 innings of the season. The former Houston closer will step into Pittsburgh's bullpen to provide depth behind the recently re-signing Jason Grilli, who will take over as closer.
Both Sands and De Jesus came to the Red Sox in their summer blockbuster trade with the Dodgers. The 25-year-old Sands owns a Triple-A batting line of .288/.362/.552 with 55 home runs in 940 plate appearances across the past two years. He also has 70 big league games to his credit, most of which came in 2011. De Jesus, 25, has 80 big league plate appearances under his belt and is a .303/.355/.416 hitter in 1,294 career Triple-A plate appearances. The Red Sox had recently removed him from their 40-man roster.
Pimentel, 22, was rated as the sixth best prospect in the Red Sox's organization in 2010 by Baseball America but was bumped down to No. 23 the following year. The 6-foot-3 right-hander boasts a strong changeup but has failed to impress at the Double-A level. In 37 starts for Double-A Portland, the youngster has posted a 5.96 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. Alex Speier of WEEI.com notes that Pimentel was targeted by the Pirates in 2008 as part of the three-way deal with the Dodgers and Red Sox that resulted in Manny Ramirez going to LA and Jason Bay coming to Boston, but the Sox refused to include him.
Holt, 24, was rated as the 27th best prospect in the Pirates' farm system in 2010 by Baseball America, but he has not been featured by the publication in their annual Prospect Handbook since. He hit .292/.329/.354 in 72 big league plate appearances this season, his MLB debut. Holt has hit .317/.381/.427 throughout his minor league career, including a .344/.406/.453 showing between Double-A and Triple-A this past season. He's played the middle infield exclusively as a professional, spending most of his time at short rather than second.
Andrew Bailey, Boston's incumbent closer, pitched to a 7.04 ERA in 15 1/3 innings in 2012 while missing most of the year with injuries. The additions of Hanrahan and Koji Uehara give the Red Sox some late-inning bullpen depth along with Junichi Tazawa and possibly Daniel Bard if he can bounceback from a disastrous season. The Pirates will pair Melancon and Grilli with Jared Hughes and Tony Watson, though they could also seek additional relief help on the free agent market.
ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes first reported that the two sides were nearing an agreement while ESPN's Jim Bowden reported the agreement (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, John Tomase of the Boston Herald, MLB.com's Evan Drellich, MLB.com's Peter Gammons, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports all added details on Twitter. Mike Axisa contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
In today's column, Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looks at the best second-tier and third-tier free agents remaining. Here's a look at the highlights..
- Joe Saunders is receiving interest from four clubs and the Orioles have ramped up their efforts to retain him. It seems Saunders would be in position to get more than the two-year, $15MM deal signed by Joe Blanton.
- Scott Hairston is looking for a significant raise over the $1.1MM he earned last season and he might wind up being too rich for the Mets' blood. Jonny Gomes is a similar player and got $10MM over two years from the Red Sox.
- Some teams see the significant increase in walks allowed last season by Joel Hanrahan as a red flag. After posting a 2.1 BB/9 rate in 2011, Hanrahan jumped to 5.4 in 2012. There is also some concern among rival evaluators that his diminished control is a sign of an arm issue. Hanrahan would argue that the control problems may have stemmed from the inconsistent save chances that a Bucs closer gets.
- Free agent reliever J.P. Howell should sign soon, perhaps with the Nationals. Other interested clubs include the Phillies, Cubs, Mariners, and Rangers.
- Travis Hafner would be a classic make-good guy to bring to spring training, but he won't fit all rosters because he can't play a position.
- Executives have reservations about Lance Berkman, including his health, overall shape, and motivation to play.
- Some have said that the Cubs overpaid for Edwin Jackson ($52MM over four years), but new financial restraints in the draft and international market have forced clubs to pay more. In short, the Cubs basically paid the going rate for a 29-year-old healthy pitcher of his caliber.
News out of the American League East..
- The Red Sox would possibly give up Franklin Morales or Alfredo Aceves in a deal for Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. The Pirates, however, may be thinking more along the lines of Felix Doubront, which would be a deal-breaker, according to a major league source. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported Boston's interest in Hanrahan.
- The Red Sox had some inquiries on Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but it appears that they may go to spring training with three catchers, plus Mike Napoli, if that deal gets done, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Boston also has free agent pickup David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway slotted in at the catcher position.
- The Rangers' signing of A.J. Pierzynski could shake the catching market loose and spark trade interest in Saltalamacchia for the Red Sox, tweets Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. Pierzynski and Texas agreed to a one-year deal earlier this evening.
- The Yankees did not make an offer to Pierzynski, according to Heyman (via Twitter). The Bombers' plan at present is to go with a combination of Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, and Austin Romine behind the plate. The Yanks were known to have interest in Pierzynski but were said to be wary of his defense.