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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Red Sox Trade For Another Closer From A Bad Team, Good Luck Joel Hanrahan

For the second off-season in a row, the Red Sox have proceeded forward with the idea that closers on inferior teams should be able to make a smooth transition to the rigors of the AL East. How did that work out last season for Mark Melancon (formerly of the Astros) and Andrew Bailey (formerly of the A's)?

After much talk about the possible trade last week, it was made official today as Boston traded Melancon along with minor leaguers Stolmy Pimentel (pitcher), Ivan De Jesus (infielder) and Jerry Sands (first baseman/outfielder) to PIttsburgh for closer Jack Hanrahan and minor league second baseman Brock Holt.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a nice move for the Red Sox since Hanrahan is a two-time All-Star in the National League (2011, 2012) and they didn't give up much in return. Melancon was a complete disaster in 2012 (0-2, 6.20 ERA in 41 appearances) and who knows if Pimentel, De Jesus and Sands will pan out. Pimentel was in Portland (Double A) last season while De Jesus and Sands came over in the huge trade with the Dodgers. None of them were any of the Red Sox' elite prospects by any means.

Hanrahan is not young, he turned 31 in October and made his major league debut for the Nationals in 2007. After 2.5 years with Washington, he's spent the last 3.5 in Pittsburgh. So that means he played for two of the worst teams in baseball (this was before the Nationals were competitive) and hasn't sniffed a playoff spot let alone played meaningful games in September and October.

He had 40 saves in 2011 and 36 last season. In 2012, he was 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 63 appearances. In 59.2 innings, he allowed 40 hits, 18 earned runs and eight home runs with 67 strikeouts and 36 walks. Hanrahan is a big guy (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) so he's a power pitcher. It makes you wonder what Boston plans to do with Bailey (7.04 ERA, 6 saves, 3 blown saves in 19 appearances) who was injured most of last season then terrible when he finally was activated late in the miserable campaign for all involved.

There is still over two months before spring training starts so expect the Red Sox to continue making moves to bolster a roster which as it stands, still appears to be the fifth best in the AL East. Pennants aren't won in November and December but it's hard to argue with all the improvements made by the Blue Jays. The Yankees, Orioles and Rays haven't done much but they were better teams than the Red Sox to begin with so I don't think that has changed.

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