The Boston Red Sox are stepping into the forefront as a contender for Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe (story linked in the Hub to your right) claims that Hanrahan “appears to be their top target,” and the Red Sox and Pirates have been in trade talks surrounding the closer with 76 saves in his past two seasons.
The Sox have added everything but bullpen help this offseason as their roster got a nearly complete overhaul. The Red Sox had Andrew Bailey working as their closer, it seems if this rumor has legs that their confidence in him is waning, or they simply can’t shake their fascination with Hanrahan.
The rumor also mentions the name of Felix Doubront being what the Pirates might want, but that could be a deal-breaker according to Carfardo’s ML source. Doubront would be a nice get for the Bucs, but it will certainly take more than Hanrahan to get the controllable southpaw. The 24-year old Venezulean has always struckout batters, walked very few, and battled injuries.
It was thought that 6’2″ Doubront was out of shape during his career in the minors, but presumably after getting into shape, Doubront came out strong in 2012 and shocked reporters who felt he was the best Red Sox pitcher last year. Doubront tweeked mechanics and delivery during the season. The Sox shut him down for nearly three weeks in August with a right knee contusion. He came back strong.
His 28th start against the playoff bound Baltimore Orioles was a thing of beauty.
“Everybody’s always said he’s going to be good, he’s going to be special,” Clay Buchholz said. “When you’re throwing 95 from the left side with movement, along with all the other pitches he throws, whenever he’s on, his stuff is pretty close to unhittable. As far as next year, you can look at him, like he did today, and know he’s going to be good.”
Doubront has been injury prone, which the Red Sox pitching coach Randy Niemann attributed to landing on his heel rather than his toe. An interesting video on the topic is here.
In 2012, Doubront was paid $484,000, the Bucs would be thrilled to get their hands on such a cost controlled left handed talent seemingly tailor made to pitch in PNC Park. It seems the Pirates are interested in landing not only starting pitching, but left handed starting pitching if the Dodgers Chris Capuano rumor can be believed. Landing Doubront is a deal that we would be excited to see happen, Aceves and Morales–ah, not so much.
Unfortunately, landing Doubront who in his age-24 season nearly broke southpaw Babe Ruth’s pitching strikeout record, won’t be that easy.