In the week leading up to Friday's non-tender deadline, we will take a look at the eight Pirates eligible for salary arbitration: how they did, whether or not they will be tendered, what salary they might get and their role going forward.
Age opening day 2013: 31
Arbitration year: Third
Acquired: Via trade along with Lastings Milledge from the Nationals in exchange for Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan, 6/30/09.
Service time: 5 years 65 days
2012 salary: $4.1 million base (avoided arbitration), $35,000 in incentives
Stats: 2.72 ERA, 63 appearances, 36 saves, 592/3 innings pitched, 67/36 K/BB ratio, 5.4 BB/9, 10.1 K/9, 1.27 WHIP
Hanrahan repeated his high save total and made his second consecutive All-Star team, but his on-field performance declined this year, mostly due to an increase in walks issued. He walked 36 batters in 592/3 innings, compared to 16 in 682/3 innings last season. His WHIP jumped from 1.05 to 1.27 and his K/BB ratio fell from 3.81 to 1.86.
Early in the season, a slight leg injury limited his effectiveness, but not for long. He remained consistent from month to month until September and October, when he walked 10 batters in nine innings pitched.
A look at his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and the adjusted version (xFIP) suggest that Hanrahan’s save total doesn’t tell the story. He had a 4.45 FIP, a 4.28 xFIP and a minus-0.4 Wins Above Replacement, as calculated by Fangraphs.com.
Despite the decline in control, Hanrahan still served as an effective closer, and he will earn a hefty raise in arbitration.
This year, I’m going to introduce comparable players with similar performance and service time as the Pirates eligible for arbitration. They are not meant to be exact, but to give a ballpark figure.
Comp: Jonathan Papelbon, 2010. Papelbon avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $9.35 million contract with the Red Sox before the 2010 season, his second year of arbitration eligibility. Papelbon in 2009, the season before: 38 saves in 68 innings, 66 appearances, 76/24 K/BB ratio.
Analysis: Papelbon’s salary in 2009 -- $6.25 million – was higher than Hanrahan’s this season, so Hanrahan’s may not reach that level, but a jump of $3 million or so is probable. The Pirates will tender Hanrahan a contract, and he will likely agree to or be awarded a salary between $6 and $9 million. That’s the boring part.
If the Pirates want to move Hanrahan, they will probably do so this winter because of the new CBA. After the 2013 season, the Pirates must offer Hanrahan, who will almost certainly be a free agent because the Pirates won’t extend him, a qualifying one-year guaranteed offer of between $13 and $14 million for 2014 for them to receive a compensation pick if he signs elsewhere. Trading him midseason removes the chance that the Pirates could get a comp pick, lowering the potential return.
Neal Huntington is not keen on spending, say, $7.5 million on a closer when that might represent 15 percent of his total payroll and will almost certainly not want to spend $12 or $13 million on a closer for 2014. Hanrahan may also wish to play elsewhere. If the Pirates could get a No. 1 catcher or quality starting pitcher in return for Hanrahan, they will have to consider it.
The departure of Brad Lincoln removed the immediate closer-in-waiting. The Pirates could re-sign free agent Jason Grilli and insert him into the closer’s role, opt for someone in the organization or try to sign a less expensive closer if they move Hanrahan.
-- Video courtesy of MLB.com
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