The Texas Rangers have inquired about Pittsburgh Pirates’ closer Joel Hanrahan, according to Ken Rosenthal, via MLBTR. This marks the second time the Rangers have been linked to Hanrahan. Last July we heard that Texas inquired, and the Pirates’ price was Neftali Feliz. A Feliz/Hanrahan swap would be an obvious win for the Pirates, and it doesn’t really fit in with the plan for the Rangers, which seems to be adding a strong set up guy for Feliz, with that guy eventually taking over as Feliz eventually moves in to the rotation.
That sends a message about Hanrahan, saying that the Pirates aren’t willing to deal him unless they get blown away with an offer. It would make little sense to deal him otherwise, as they’re currently one game below .500, and Hanrahan’s value is extremely high, especially with two years of control remaining beyond 2011. If there is one team the Pirates should be talking about Hanrahan with, it’s Texas. Their farm system is very rich with pitching prospects, plus they’ve got a few top shortstop talents in the lower level who could be expendable with Elvis Andrus in the majors for years to come.
Rob Biertemfel mentions that the Pirates are NOT actively shopping Hanrahan, which combined with last year’s trade rumors, suggest that Texas will have to pay a high price to get the closer away from Pittsburgh. Considering that Rosenthal said it was a low-level inquiry, and agrees that it would take a significant price to land Hanrahan, I’d say that it doesn’t sound like we will be hearing about a deal any time soon.