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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said Wednesday he was working on a number of fronts to improve the ballclub, and that evidently includes conversations with the Pittsburgh Pirates regarding closer Joel Hanrahan.
Multiple sources confirmed that the Sox and Pirates have had discussions regarding Hanrahan, who saved a total of 76 games over the last two seasons for the Pirates and is a year away from free agency. With incumbent closer Andrew Bailey still a question mark after a season in which he was injured for most of the year, then pitched ineffectively, it makes sense that the Sox would explore bullpen upgrades.
But Pittsburgh is looking for pitching, primarily starters, and one major league source said Pittsburgh is seeking a "significant return" for Hanrahan, an All-Star in each of the last two seasons. He earned $4.1 million in 2012 and can expect a significant bump in salary arbitration.
ESPN Boston: Sox interested in Pirates Hanrahan
It's taken only one season for the front office to have buyer's remorse over Andrew Bailey. Hanrahan has been one of the better closers over the past two seasons where the Pirates have teased a playoff run only to fizzle out in the end. He's a one inning closer as he's thrown just 128 1/3 innings in 133 games over that same two year stretch but he's been lights out, especially two years ago when he had less than a 1.00 ERA for the first half of the season.
So say if the Sox do get him, where does that leave Bailey and the rest of the bullpen? Relegate him as the set up man and then leave Bard in AAA or have him be the 7th inning guy? Trade Bailey and hope you can get one-third of a player that Josh Reddick has become?
Unfortantely, the Sox should do this move since we can't rely on Bailey's health. This means we're giving up something substantial for a 31 year old closer. Brutal.
Globe: Dempster ready for action | Dempster on joining the Red Sox | Herald: Dempster delivers | CSNNE: Sox had more dialogue with Napoli | Sox seeking relief from Hanrahan? | WEEI: Can Dempster remain durable? | Cherington talks about Ross, Ellsbury |