Joel Hanrahan Trade Making Pittsburgh Pirates' Neal Huntington Look Like A Genius

By Zach Morrison
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

When Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington traded Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox over the winter, a lot of fans and media questioned his motives. The questions were there: “Are the Pirates going to rebuild again?”, “Will they ever be able to keep their stars?”, and of course this comment, “The Pirates won’t pay anyone!”

Well. So far, it looks like Huntington and the front office made the correct decision.

Huntington receives a lot of criticism, some of it is deserved, but some of it isn’t. One thing he does know how to do is build a bullpen.

The full trade was Hanrahan and Brock Holt to the Red Sox for Mark Melancon, Ivan DeJesus Jr., Stolmy Pimentel and Jerry Sands. So far, Hanrahan has struggled mightily. In 4.2 innings, Hanrahan has a 11.57 ERA with five walks and three home runs allowed.

Holt has a slash line of .208/.286/.208 in Triple-A Pawtucket for the Red Sox.

Neither Holt or Hanrahan has performed well so far for the Red Sox’ organization. Oh, and Hanrahan was just placed on the 15-day disabled-list.

The Pirates side of the trade has performed much better so far. Melancon has pitched eight innings and has a 1.13 ERA with just three hits allowed and eight strikeouts and no walks allowed. DeJesus Jr. and Sands have been playing in Triple-A Indianapolis for the Pirates. DeJesus Jr. has a slash line of .278/.318/.389 so far and Sands has a slash line of .200/.200/.200.

Pimentel has pitched well for Double-A Altoona in the Pirates’ organization, starting two games thus far. He has pitched 12.1 innings and hasn’t allowed a run yet. He has allowed seven hits and struck out 11 batters.

The pieces of the trade aren’t the only guys making the trade look great for the Pirates, Jason Grilli has been outstanding as the new Pirates’ closer. In only 5.2 innings so far, Grilli hasn’t given up a run and has struck out seven batters. He has converted all five of his save opportunities, and doesn’t look at all intimidated by the job of being a closer.

Huntington has made a bunch of bad trades for the Pirates in his years in Pittsburgh, but he’s also made some good trades. The bottom-line is that the Pirates are in a better position now than they were before Huntington was hired.

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