Reliever Joel Hanrahan has decided to retire from the game, as he announced in an appearance on MLB on TuneIn (audio link). He had been seeking to make a comeback in 2016, but ultimately wasn’t able to overcome the arm issues that plagued him in recent years and won’t undertake another effort this winter.
As recently as 2012, Hanrahan was a quality late-inning arm. But he succumbed to Tommy John surgery early in the following season, and ended up requiring a second UCL replacement in the spring of 2015.
Taken by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2000 draft, Hanrahan made it to free agency before seeing time in the majors with his original organization. But the Nationals snagged him off of the open market and even gave him 11 starts in his debut year of 2007.
It was a move to the bullpen that really launched Hanrahan’s career. Lots of strikeouts and walks quickly became the norm, and Hanrahan generally frustrated as much as he intrigued. After 168 innings of 5.30 ERA pitching, he was shipped to the Pirates in a rather interesting 2009 challenge trade. Hanrahan was joined by outfielder Lastings Milledge, with the Nats receiving lefty Sean Burnett and outfielder Nyjer Morgan.
The change of scenery benefited both relievers, with Hanrahan showing improved velocity and producing improved results upon heading to Pittsburgh. He ultimately took the club’s closer’s job in 2011 and made two All-Star games. Over 229 1/3 total innings with the Bucs, Hanrahan worked to a 2.59 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9.
With one final year of arbitration control remaining, at a saves-inflated rate, Hanrahan was again moved in a deal that prominently featured another reliever. Joined by Brock Holt, he headed to the Red Sox in exchange for Mark Melancon (who was coming off of a disastrous prior season) and three others.
Boston proved to be the end of the line for Hanrahan: he made just nine appearances, picking up four saves but allowing eight earned runs with five strikeouts and six walks before going under the knife. While he signed with the Tigers in both 2014 and 2015, he never made a regular-season appearance for Detroit in the majors or minors.
All told, it was a nice run for Hanrahan, who ended up pitching in parts of seven major league seasons. MLBTR wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors.