Any uncertainty as to whether Joel Hanrahan would be a Pirates in 2013 was all but removed Friday when the Pirates agreed to a two-year deal with left-handed starter Francisco Liriano.
Any remaining doubt was removed for good Saturday when it began to trickle out that Hanrahan was headed to Boston for a quartet of young players.
The trade, still unfinished with a few incomplete parts, should not come as much of a surprise to the loyal fans who belong to the asylum. Hanrahan's future was the biggest storyline of the offseason for the Pirates.
All along, it seemed unlikely the Pirates would be able to keep Hanrahan around. Neal Huntington has talked for the better part of the past two seasons about how expensive closers become through arbitration -- especially successful ones -- and how difficult it is for small-market teams to keep up. But recently, he suggested the Pirates would be comfortable with keeping Hanrahan on payroll in 2013, even with an expected pricetag of $7 million.
But when the Pirates agreed to pay Liriano, Hanrahan's fate was sealed. The Pirates could not find the type starting pitching they sought for dealing Hanrahan. So they went on the market, signed a pitcher that met their requirements and dealt Hanrahan for what they believe was their best possible deal.
I must say I am a bit surprised Hanrahan was moved this soon, especially so soon after they agreed to terms with Liriano. Considering the Pirates had little leverage entering the negotiations, what harm would it do to hold onto him and wait for a market to further develop?
It is hard to evaluate the trade at this point, since it is incomplete. Jerry Sands is certainly an intriguing player with a lot of potential. But that seems like a line I've written about a dozen times in the past year and a half. The Pirates didn't land a successful major league player or even a top prospect in this deal, but I'm not sure that was possible in this instance.
I will try to update the blog as much as possible as the other pieces of this trade develop (Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reported late Saturday that pitcher Mark Melancon COULD be part of the deal). It's possible the deal won't be completed today, either. Nothing will be officially announced until at least after Christmas.
Holiday Movie Countdown: No. 3 (Pretty good consensus today)
Michael: "It’s a Wonderful Life" I really like Frank Capra, and this is quintessential Capra.
Bill: "A Christmas Story" There's nothing about this movie that isn't great. "You should see what it looks like from out here!"
Bgsu78: "It’s a Wonderful Life"
Hunter: "It's a Wonderful Life" I hated it as a kid because it was in black and white. It definitely grew on me.
Wayward Eer: "It’s a Wonderful Life"
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