The Tigers have agreed to re-signed right-hander Joel Hanrahan to a one-year, $1MM contract with an additional $2.5MM available via incentives, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). In a second tweet, Nightengale clarifies that the Reynolds Sports Management client will receive a minor league deal with a $1MM base should he make the big league roster.
Hanrahan, who turned 33 in October, signed a $1MM contract with the Tigers back in May as he worked his way back from Tommy John surgery and a torn flexor mass, but setbacks in his rehab prevented him from ever pitching for the Tigers in either the Majors or Minors.
Despite the fact that Hanrahan was unable to take the mound in 2014, the Tigers have plenty of reason to be optimistic that he can help their bullpen in 2015. Hanrahan spent parts of four seasons with the Pirates from 2009-12, where he was a two-time All-Star as the team’s closer. He posted a combined 2.59 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 229 1/3 innings with the Bucs, and his walk numbers would be even better were they not skewed by a 5.4 BB/9 mark in his final season with Pittsburgh.
The Pirates traded Hanrahan to Boston along with Brock Holt in exchange for Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, Ivan De Jesus and Jerry Sands prior to the 2013 season, but Hanrahan managed just 7 1/3 innings with the BoSox before the aforementioned injuries cost him the remainder of the season.
For Detroit, which likely just dedicated a significant portion of its offseason budget to re-signing Victor Martinez at four years and $68MM, Hanrahan provides a low-cost option with more upside than nearly any comparably priced reliever on the free agent market could offer. The team has already invested $17MM in the duo of Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria, and further high-priced bullpen expenditures aren’t expected, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see another affordable arm added to the mix.