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.
Putting some fire to the smoke @buster_espn started this morning, my sources report LAD are indeed working on possible Capuano/Hanrahan deal
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) November 30, 2012
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:
Pirates have had Joel Hanrahan on the market for a few weeks; they have talked to the Dodgers about Chris Capuano, and other teams, as well.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 30, 2012
UPDATE 4:17 PM: Pirates Prospects writer Matt Bandi made a great point on this rumor and the decision to non-tender Jeff Karstens.
Non-tendering Karstens and then trading Hanrahan for Capuano would be pretty much the same as just cutting Hanrahan.
— Matt Bandi (@MBandi) November 30, 2012
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.