RUMBUNTER exclusive: Red Sox GM and Pirates GM text conversation surrounding the Joel Hanrahan trade

The Pittsburgh Pirates Salary Dump in a New Age Format

The Pittsburgh Pirates pulled the trigger today on the most anticipated six player deal in years for Pittsburgh Pirates baseball.  It’s Bob Nutting’s new age approach to a baseball trade.   Call it what you will, it’s an old fashioned salary dump of closer Joel Hanrahan.   A big time reliever who once had value, but in the Pirates pursuit of winning now, are left with a void due to that pursuit.  Call it another void, a collapse factor, whatever.  It is what it is.

The void that remains is filling the production of said reliever, Joel Hanrahan, who began losing value two seasons ago at the trade deadline.   Any value was given away by the pursuit of an NL Central title the past two seasons.  It was a gamble that failed.  Now the Bucs move forward in the chase-their-money gamble.

The pursuit of winning halted the Pirates from dealing their valuable closer at the past two trade deadlines.  Some say the Bucs avoided a PR nightmare.  We just think the Bucs tried to win at the time, it’s hard to fault them for that.

So now, the new age approach to a baseball trade takes over.   If we do say so, it was as filthy as a Rod Scurry curveball and the spin that ensued was just as nasty.


Announce the team is trading their All-Star closer days before it happens.  Hanrahan was a reliever that was rebuilt from a guy who threw gas on fires in Washington–into an All-Star closer.

The spin is to leak most of the names that will be included in the trade, but leave out a few of the add-ons just to spark speculation.

Venom ensues in Pittsburgh and Boston.

Some objectivity ensues.  (Depending, of course, on your level of accepting said objectivity)

After #Hanrahan stops trending, leak out that the trade is delayed.   But it will still happen… after everyone enjoys Christmas.  You know, mass and stuff.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherrington and Pirates GM Neal Huntington enjoy the holiday lights, eat too many cookies, and drink a few winter beers while texting…..


About 48 hours later, the news breaks that the trade has been finalized.   Ben and Neal, the GM’s from Boston and Pittsburgh,  go about their holiday travel schedules with the peace of mind the deal is done.

If you’re like me, you shake off the Christmas haze and try and get your thoughts together about the Pirates return.   (Oh wait, it’s DeJesus who?  Oh, wasn’t he just DFA’d?  What?)

Some Pirates fans unleash a little bit of venom.   Mostly about Bob Nutting be cheap.

Some Red Sox fans unleash a little bit of venom.   Mostly about Ben collecting relievers.

The typical Pittsburgh media scrum ensues.  It’s highlighted by the two guys we enjoy most.  They let everyone in the aftermath of the trade know their take on the oh-so-familar Bob Nutting doesn’t spend enough money saga.  Chris Mueller explains television deals to the enlightened listeners of 93.7 The Fan.  Bob Nutting’s favorite reporter, Dejan Kovacevic, threw in his tweet on the subject as well.

Some objectivity ensues.

A report leaks about Hanrahan having some lower body issues that impacted his mechanics in 2012.  Funny.  We have never heard about before.

And a few hours later Hanranator sends out his first tweet with a Boston Red Sox avatar.

As we wrote in our  Joel Hanrahan thanks for the memories post, all that’s left is that damn void.   The man that provided Pirates fans with a reason to believe is gone.  So is his salary.   All done in a slick,  new age approach–mostly through instant perceptions on social media.

If only the trade was interesting, or maybe a bit surprising.  Neal Huntington trades have turned out ok as it relates to pitching, but hitters, well not so much.

We pointed out a few days ago, but we will rehash it again quickly.  The team has a glut of players that are listed as first basemen and corner outfielders on their baseball card.    So now what?

Look.  We predicted  a while back that Garrett Jones will be traded this offseason.  Thousands of you read the article, yet some of you are now surprised that the team has perhaps one or two many first baseman/corner outfielders?

You shouldn’t be.  We trust you unloaded your Hanrahan jersey on eBay as we suggested…..and have Jones up for sale now.  (Although Jones is sorta common if you can’t get good value in return)

The always money first Bob Nutting Buccos have now opened up six million bucks in payroll.  The team is going to roll the dice on the gamble that the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball club won’t lose production by plugging in Melancon and DeJesus while crossing their fingers on Sands and maybe Pimentel.

Here is what I heard.  The Bucs truly feel that three of these players should/could impact the Major League club this year with a 23 year-old upside arm with traits to start or stuff to pitch in a meaningful role out of the pen.   It’s your typical salary dump scenario–the team trades a player that is going to earn more than the team feels they can afford for a few players they can afford.  In this case, the Pirates made a trade with a team that needed to get a few players off their 40-man roster.

While we don’t believe these players can all contribute in 2013, it’s what we are left with after the team lost their gamble.

So now the Pirates have a reliever in Melancon who was so bad that he was trusted to pitch three high leverage innings all of last season.  Hammer pitched 23.1 innings of high leverage relief, but his value just wasn’t there, because the Pirates made that decision to roll the dice and go ‘all in’ and not trade the man Clint Hurdle called ‘The Big Irishman.’

But still, a strikeout pitcher in Hammer for a groundball pitcher in Melancon?  That’s the deal as it appears on the surface, but the Bucs are looking at some of the best years still coming for Melancon.   The wild card will be the odds-are-against-us two other players in the deal–Jerry Sands and Stolmy Pimentel.  The Bucs are banking on some future production–for the big league team.

Let’s trust the Pirates brass are correct.

We have seen it all before.  It’s getting old for me and I have only written five thousand posts on the Pirates.  Payroll, perceived inaccuracies of Nuttings’ wealth from Forbes, controllable years, television deals, and in this specific deal we think two things are obvious: missed trade window opportunities and trading for players that aren’t young enough with big-time upside to make significant future impact.

This would have been an interesting trade a couple of years ago.   The odds say that the Pirates should come out ok on this trade alone, it’s what happens next that concerns me a bit.



Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates

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