Red Sox Knew Joel Hanrahan Was an Injury Risk


The Red Sox knew that there were health issues when they traded for Hanrahan.

The Red Sox knew that there were health issues when they traded for Hanrahan.

Per MLBTR, Buster Olney was on the Mut & Merloni radio show in Boston, and spoke during the interview about the Joel Hanrahan trade. Olney mentioned that the Red Sox, along with “many teams”, were aware that there were health issues with Hanrahan. Olney said that’s why the Pirates didn’t get much of a return.

I think the return they got was a good one. I thought that at the time, and that’s especially true now that Hanrahan is out for the year, Mark Melancon looks like a dominant late inning reliever, and Stolmy Pimentel has been on fire this year. I figured they could have gotten more for Hanrahan, but only if they would have traded him a year earlier. I guess what Olney is saying is that the value could have been higher this year, without the injury issues.

There’s not much that can be done about the injury news, and I don’t think the Pirates are regretting the trade right now. When you think about it from the other side, the fact that the Red Sox even gave up Melancon — who looked great last year in the second half — for Hanrahan — who they knew had health problems — is pretty astounding.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, this is just another lesson that you need to deal relievers at peak value. While the return for Hanrahan has been good, there’s a good chance it would have been much better if it came when he had more years of control, and didn’t have health problems.

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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, 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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  • Brian Bernard

    I agree completely Tim with moving any player when you feel you can maximize return. It’s certainly less risky with a reliever because they are replaceable which is my question.
    Why do teams place such a high value on them? As high as 14 mil/yr some are pulling down. Just nuts really. A starter, at any position, pitching or in the field I can see but not relievers.

    With this in mind though, and the recent news of attention being paid to strong armed prospects in the system and soon to be returning arms such as Karstens, McDonald, Morton. What value do you place on Melancon or Grilli if you were to move one of them by mid-season?

  • joe g.

    I don’t believe that the Red Sox saw Hanrahan as an injury risk. “He’s an injury risk. Let’s annoint him as our closer.” Really? The value received for Hanrahan was not below expectations either, when you consider that he’s a one year rental.

    • NorCal Buc

      joe g ~ Exactly. Hanny’s contract is up at the end of the year. We received Melancon, Pimental, and De Jesus for just ONE year of Hanrahan.

      Also, it is UNREALISTIC to assume Hanrahan could have been traded in 2012, NOT with the team still in contention. Plus, the team had its initial collapse in 2011. TOO many major factors were in play for this F/O to move Hanrahan last year, solely form a strategic perspective.

    • Susanne Klich Langford

      They knew he was a closer over 30 with some mileage on him and numbers that declined in the past year so they were aware. Every fantasy magazine i picked up knew so they knew. They rolled the dice and lost and now the Bucs have a closer after next year when Grilli is gone. As far as dealing Hanrahan at peak. We couldn’t because we were in a pennant race… albeit pretenders.

    • Andy Zibuck

      Agreed, I’ll call BS on that Olney comment too. He’s injury risk = he’s a pitcher. Throw in his age and anyone could call him a risk whether they know of past issues or not. MRI any pitcher’s arm and you’re going to find something to make someone say, “that’s going to snap.”

      “Return wasn’t that good” is code for “I don’t follow the Pirates so have no idea how the return is actually doing.”

  • weltytowngang

    Value time for a closer is in season, not in the off season. And NorCal Buc is right – you could see him having problems in mid-2011. The job of the fo is to foresee those type of things and be more timely with their transactions. What they got was really very good.

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