Pirates Shopping Hanrahan to the Dodgers, Others?

Earlier today Buster Olney had the following note about closer Joel Hanrahan in his daily article.

If the Pirates are ready to trade Joel Hanrahan, the Dodgers are ready to discuss and have starting pitching to offer (like Chris Capuano). But the fact that Pittsburgh agreed to terms with Martin probably means that the Pirates are making a push for 2013 and trading their closer wouldn’t seem to fit that.

Dodgers writer Mike Petriello had the following update, noting that the Dodgers are working on a Capuano/Hanrahan swap.

That kind of swap wouldn’t be what Pirates fans have been expecting as a return for Hanrahan. Most closers in recent years have fetched young players with upside. The Andrew Bailey deal got Josh Reddick for Oakland. Baltimore got Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Koji Uehara. Those types of deals are usually made because one team is looking to win now, and the other is looking to add future pieces. This type of swap would make sense if the Pirates are trying to win now, but the upside would be limited.

I like Capuano. He was my top target on the free agent market last year out of guys the Pirates had a realistic chance of signing. He responded with a 3.72 ERA in 198.1 innings, with a 7.4 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 ratio. The lefty would be a good fit in PNC Park. He’d provide more value in 2013 than Hanrahan could provide. Plus, the Pirates could make a stronger offer to Jason Grilli — who they are reportedly trying to re-sign — offering him the closer role.

That would make the Pirates better in 2013, but it doesn’t have the appeal of making a deal like Oakland made, and getting a guy who can help for multiple years. Hanrahan’s trade value is limited, since he’s projected to make $7 M and is only under control for one year. However, he should be able to land a Reddick-type return, although he wouldn’t get the extra pieces Oakland received. The upside to Capuano is that you don’t have to take the gamble of that Reddick-type player turning into the next Lastings Milledge or Jeff Clement and failing to realize his potential.

Hanrahan for Capuano would be fair, and would upgrade the Pirates in 2013, but it’s a very vanilla type move without any long-term appeal.

UPDATE 4:15 PM: Buster Olney update:

UPDATE 4:17 PM: Pirates Prospects writer Matt Bandi made a great point on this rumor and the decision to non-tender Jeff Karstens.

I’d have to agree to an extent. Capuano is much more durable, and could get you around 200 innings. However, if given the choice I’d take Karstens and Hanrahan over Capuano alone.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • https://profiles.google.com/116255365477483987850 jalcorn

    Yeah I would want Capuano and a prospect, something now and something for later. Capuano has a reasonable ($8 million) mutual 2014 option too. Throw in a second useful part on their side and sign me up.

    This would make much more sense out of the Karstens Non-tender today.

  • https://profiles.google.com/116366873579930999690 Thom Kay

    Capuano and a good prospect and I could be sold. A one-for-one does so little for the Pirates.

    If you like to look at WAR on Fangraphs, Capuano looks better than Hanrahan. If you like win probability numbers, Hanrahan looks better. And if you like Baseball Reference WAR, it’s a toss up.

  • wkkortas

    What worries me about the Martin signing and having Capuano as a trade target is that the Pirates are not in a “win-now” mode as much as a “be kinda sorta good now” mode, with 82 wins being the Holy Grail. If you can cut a deal with the Dodgers and get a good prospect, that makes it a good deal, but if it’s Capuano and a second-tier prospect, that strikes me a job-saving drive to mediocrity on NH’s part.

  • steve19981

    “However, if given the choice I’d take Karstens and Hanrahan over Capuano alone.”

    The equation would more likely be Karstens and Hanrahan for Capuano and $4-5 million. The cash difference is what balances it out.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      I don’t think that balances it out. If you’re talking about the cash difference, you’re projecting future moves. If you’re doing that, then you’ve got to project a Hanrahan trade on the other side, which would also free up cash. If the deal is for a prospect or young player, then you’re freeing up almost $7 M. Then it’s Karstens, the return for Hanrahan, and $2-3 M or Capuano.

      The overall point here is that the Pirates need pitching. They just let an effective pitcher go for nothing. They’re also rumored to be shopping their closer to fill the pitching need. It’s not consistent. They’re giving away good pitching, then paying a high cost for it in another avenue.

      • http://www.facebook.com/fred.langford.9 Fred Langford

        I completely agree Tim. Why would you trade an elite arm like Hanrahan for a middle of the road starter. If that and a prospect is all we can get i would just keep him until the deadline where he would have very good value. You are right…the approach is inconsistent…this Karstens thing bothers me. We know the guy can pitch. Karstens has a higher war the last 3 years combined and to use injury as an excuse for not wanting Karstens and then sign a guy like Capuano who had 2 tjs’ WTF?!?

  • http://twitter.com/slucas22 slucas22

    “However, if given the choice I’d take Karstens and Hanrahan over Capuano alone.”

    Hypothetical question Tim: Would you prefer Karstens/Hanrahan or Capuano/Grilli?

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      Is this comparison in a vacuum, or are we applying it to the Pirates’ situation?

      I’d take Capuano/Grilli in a vacuum.

      • http://twitter.com/slucas22 slucas22

        I guess a vacuum.

        It’s hard for me to apply it to the Pirates situation, because I’m not really sure what they can realistically put into payroll this season. I know the TV money will kick in next year (correct me if I’m wrong), so they could be willing to spend a bit more this year knowing that money is on the way.

        Like I said, as an outsider looking in, hard to tell where they stand.

        Similar to the Martin signing…. $8.5m is a pretty fair price for his production, but is it “fair” considering the Pirates situation? It’s hard to tell until we have a more firm grasp on the payroll/roster.

        • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.graham.773 Bryan Graham

          $8.5 Million is a fair price for a guy who hit .237 two years ago and .211 last year? We complained last season how the 7-8-9 hitters were more or less automatic outs and now we have assured that will be the case this year also. I would have much rather had Napoli, he may have only caught 80 games but he could have played first the rest of the time and hit 25-30 homers. I just don’t see how we didn’t just sign the Fort for $8.5 million/year, only this guy has Martin on the back of his jersey.

  • http://twitter.com/bWalor23 bWalor23

    How about Hanrahan and Presley to Detroit for Porcello or Smyly and Asvail Garcia ? Too much for Detroit to give up?