Some Pittsburgh Pirates fans were scratching their heads this past offseason when the team traded away their All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan and infield prospect Brock Holt to the Boston Red Sox for for Jerry Sands, Stolmy Pimentel, Ivan DeJesus, Jr. and Mark Melancon. However, it may have been one of the best trades by the Pirates in recent years.
Since joining the Red Sox, Hanrahan has posted a 0-1 record with four saves and a 9.82 ERA over nine appearances this season. Additionally, the two-time All-Star has spent a good amount of time on the disabled list and is expected to spend a considerable amount more after the Red Sox transferred the closer to 60-day DL on Thursday.
The Red Sox were looking to acquire a closer to shut down games and pitch the ninth inning for this season and beyond, but that hasn’t happened. They have had a revolving in the closer role all season and will have to call on another pitcher to fill the void with Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey on the DL.
The Pirates got the better end of the trade so far. Melancon has tossed 17 innings this season with 12 holds, 17 punchouts and a measly 0.53 ERA. Additionally, the vacancy Hanrahan left in the closer role left space for Jason Grilli to slide in and close out 13 games this season with 23 strikeouts and a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings of work.
Even if Sands, Pimentel and DeJesus don’t ever make an appearance in the big leagues for the Pirates, they will have won this trade with the Red Sox, at least so far. Hanrahan will return from the disabled list sometime this summer and should return to form, but only time will tell if he actually makes a difference for the Red Sox.