One year later, Joel Hanrahan could be a relief option


Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to the 2014 Red Sox, the 2013 Red Sox opened the season with what looked to be a very strong bullpen which was soon debilitated with injuries. The 2013 Red Sox bullpen recovered, with players like Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow, and Andrew Miller really stepping up, but one of the major players that went down with injury in the early going was Joel Hanrahan. Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the previous offseason, Hanrahan was expected to serve as the Red Sox’ closer and continue to cement himself as one of the best power arms in the league.

Unfortunately, that’s not quite how things worked out. Hanrahan pieced together a few saves to start the season but soon started dealing with a strain to his forearm which sidelined him for a few weeks. He was never the same after that and was only active briefly before heading to the 60-day disabled list with Tommy John Surgery.

But Koji Uehara stepped up and had a historically good season in the closer role, helping to lead the Red Sox to the 2013 World Championship so why are we revisiting this?

Well, Hanrahan is healthy and ready to join a Major League team. Ironically, one year after Hanrahan was sidelined and Uehara stepped up in his place, Uehara is dealing with an injury–  reportedly similar to the shoulder injury which cost him 66 games in 2010– and the Red Sox could (but hopefully won’t) be on the market for a new closer on a temporary basis.

Next week, Hanrahan will be holding a showcase for Major League teams and has drawn plenty of interest. Eleven teams, including the Red Sox, have shown interest in the 32-year old. He is now eleven months removed from Tommy John Surgery and the former flamethrower was clocked as high as 93 mph in a bullpen session a month ago.

Only time will tell if the Red Sox will grab Hanrahan and attempt to salvage that ill-fated trade with the Pirates (the Red Sox dealt Mark Melancon, who posted a 1.39 ERA and 8.75 K/BB ratio, and Stolmy Pimentel, who ranks in the top twenty in the Pirates’ stacked farm system). However, it would certainly be an interesting and perhaps even smart move. The Red Sox have been battered by injuries in the early going, with Craig Breslow missing the first few weeks of the year and Uehara possibly about to see the disabled list, and Hanrahan could provide some much-needed depth. Who knows, perhaps they’ll get what they thought they had when they acquired him back in December 2012.