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Sunday, December 23, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: JOEL HANARAHN DEALT TO RED SOX TO CLOSE

The Boston Red Sox continued with their offseason makeover as they completed a trade Sunday for Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan.  After dealing with the injuries of Andrew Bailey and the struggles of Alfredo Aceves in the ninth inning last season, the Red Sox made it their mission to gain stability at the back of their bullpen.  While the full details of the deal have not been revealed yet, Hanrahan clearly is the biggest piece worth discussing in this deal.

Joel Hanrahan:  There is little debate that after some early career struggles with his control while with the Washington Nationals, Joel Hanrahan has turned himself into one of the very best and most dependable closer in all of fantasy baseball.  At a position that saw unprecedented tumult in 2012, Hanrahan was a rock of consistency as he pitched to a 2.72 ERA and 36 saves.  The prior 2011 season saw Hanrahan as dominant as can be with a 1.86 ERA and 1.05 WHIP while earning 40 saves.  The problem was that the Pirates saw some concern with Hanrahan last season as his WHIP spiked to 1.27 on the heels of an elevated walk rate.  Hanrahan has also seen his K rate dip the last two seasons after punching out 100 batters in only 69.2 inning pitched back in 2010.  Still at only 32, Hanrahan still has some prime years left and he should fully be up to the task to be one of the top tier closers in Boston.  While his days of striking out 100 guys are over, Hanrahan still should come close to 40 saves while posting a high 2.00 ERA and decent enough WHIP.

Jason Grilli:  Enter the new Pirates' closer.  Grilli re-signed with the Pirates by inking a two-year deal with the whispered promise he would be the team's closer once they dealt Hanrahan,  There is little doubt that Grilli has the stuff to be excellent in the role as he comes off a truly stretch the last two seasons where he pitched to a 2.48 and 2.91 ERA while striking out an obscene 90 batters in only 58.2 innings.   Even though he is aging as he turns 37 this season, Grilli should be a good investment at least for this season.  In fact Grilli makes for the best kind of closer investment in our book.  Since we always advocate never drafting a closer until the middle portion of a draft, Grilli is the high upside closer play we love in that his high K rate should mean success in the role based on his past solid to great performance while as a setup man.  We will be buying.

There you have it.  As always let us know what you think.


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