Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Deadline Countdown: Joel Hanrahan


There are less than 552 hours remaining until the trade deadline and the Pittsburgh Pirates

seem to be more than just one or two pieces away, but that won’t stop us from continuing the Trade Deadline Countdown. We are chasing down some trade talk from around Major League Baseball.

Yesterday we talked about the lack of power at the first base position.

Hell, we’ve been talking about Overbay and the punchless offense for a while now.  Here’s another one for you…

The bottom line is Overbay fooled us, we thought his glove would be much better.  We thought his bat would be more powerful.  We just don’t see it.

So will the Bucs deal some pitching at the deadline?

The question we’ve been asked more and more is about the Pirates pitching.  Will the Bucs stand pat or go “all in.”  The Pirates pitching is their strength.  A glut of fast outfielders is what is piled up, but might not be of interest to other teams unless the Bucs package one of their successful pitchers.

We guess as it stands today, a more moderate deal is coming from the Pirates.  It’s difficult to see a large name coming back to the Bucs from the information available to us.  But remember, it’s still really early.  Maybe a GM at the All-Star Game offers Neal Huntington something he can’t refuse.

We had a thought late last night and it was this:  Asking the Pirates pitching staff to continue the remarkable seems idiotic.  Why wouldn’t they want to sell high and get a bonanza in return?  (Start throwing rocks now)

Neal Huntington likes power arms.  Most baseball people do.   So is a deal possible where the Bucs could get a talented power arm that could help the big league club in the second half?  We mulled it around, looked over numerous sites and feel it will be difficult without giving up the Pirates own major league talent.

But what does this Pirates team have that could be moved?  Is now the time to unload Paul Maholm at his peak?  Joel Hanrahan at his peak?  Jeff Karstens at his peak?

Moving Kevin Correia, James McDonald, or Charlie Morton seems unlikely.

Hell moving anyone on the starting staff seems like a death wish.  But a closer look reveals just 531 strikeouts.  Can the Bucs pitching keep working their voodoo?  Man it seems hard to fathom.

But think about what the Pirates have received recently in the most notable past deal.  Octavio Dotel did nice work for the Pirates after he got out of the month of April last season.  The return for Dotel has been a win–James McDonald has pitched well enough for the Bucs to win–and he seems like he can build on his success with some rest and seasoning in the bigs.  Andrew Lambo has been up and down–mostly down this season at AAA (184/292/549) and Lambo was sent back to AA (241/352/640)

Setting aside your personal opinion of both players, one would have to strongly believe moving Maholm or Hanrahan would net a much larger return for the Pirates.  Exactly how much is anyone’s guess.  What if the offer from another team includes major league talent, and a  top 50 prospect on the Baseball America list?  We believe it would be hard for the team to say no, deals like this don’t come along all the time.

The risk is prospects break fans hearts.  When you start looking at past top prospects lists on Baseball America, there is factual evidence that a much higher percentage of prospects will flame out.  They break our heart.

Dealing Maholm and Hanrahan must be a slam dunk return for Huntington.  He simply can’t whiff on the deal should he make it.

So what do the Bucs do?  My gut says they will make a mid-range deal. But that is really boring for a column, so lets dream a little. Let’s play the what if game.

Let’s trust that whatever deal the Bucs put together one of their returns is on the Top 50 Prospect list.  It’s damn hard to even imagine a talent like a Top 50 arm coming the Pirates way.   But maybe just take a look at the list and see what you might like.

We know what you’re thinking, could the Bucs really pull off a deal like this?  Heh, we strongly feel anything is possible.  Just to get you really excited as the deadline approaches what if the Yankees would want to toss in Dellin Betances into a deal?  Or maybe Manny Banvelos?  Would that get your interest?  We know the Pirates would be all ears.

Is it hard to fathom?  Sure it is.  But play along…

So let’s consider this, if indeed the Yankees did go to Nationals Park last night to check out Sean Burnett what they saw couldn’t have impressed them.  The Nats lefty, and former Pirates reliever, gave up a two-run bomb to Carlos Pena that tied the game at eight a piece.

Burnett’s ERA jumped to 5.76, he has blown six saves.  If the Yankees were interested in Burnett, wouldn’t a Pirates left hander interest them?  We have a few. It could be argued that any of them would be better than Burnett too.

Now if the Yankees would be interested in a Joe Beimel, Tony Watson, or Daniel Moskos is a completely different story. If Joel Hanrahan could be added to the mix, a very interesting deal might be something to consider.  Perhaps add a third team and the deadline could really be cooking for the Pirates.

It never hurts to dream does it?

But remember, Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan got us Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge.    We’re sure Huntington knows how to get in touch with the Yankees this morning.

Remember the Damaso Marte/Xavier Nady deal?  Damn it would be tremendous to pull another one of those off at the deadline.  If an unlikely deal with the Yanks could include an arm like Dellin Betances or Manny Banvelos (who Mariano Rivera called the best he has seen) that would interest me greatly, just as many of the top 50 list peeks my interest, but these two pitchers really peek my interest which is why the Yankees will probably laugh at the thought.

So before we say stand pat on this Pirates team, take a look around that top 50 and tell me some of those players aren’t interesting to you.  Sure a deal will need to compensate the Bucs with talent for the short term pennant run, but a move that includes some talent for the immediate future would be inticing to me.

Moving Hanrahan right now seems like a death wish for the short term, sort of like using a muzzle loader for a round of Russian roulette.   The fans will be upset.  The team might lose a couple games until a new closer is found.  But if the return has players that will be in black and gold at PNC Park and in AAA or AA, it would be damn hard to pass up I feel.

A true powerhouse would be willing to pay for such a stud like Hanrahan.  Overpay for him.  Absolutely.  He’s the Hanranator for Christ’s sake.  But we also realize it is the job of a GM to utilize all of the assets that he has to grow the ballclub.

Especially Huntington.

The guy had the worst landfill of a farm system ever inherited by a baseball GM and a few years later Huntington has removed the junk and somehow has the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Pirates…… a game out of first place tonight.

Do I think Hanrahan will be moved?  It’s not likely, but I do feel like he would bring a haul in return to the Pirates.  And just who that might be is damn interesting to me.  Hanrahan has worked his ass off to become one of the elite, the best reliever right now in baseball.  It’s cool as hell for the big righty to be headed to the All-Star game.  What he has accomplished is tremendous.

Last season the Texas Rangers were very interested in Hanrahan.  The Pirates asked for the moon.  Now this year the Pirates will ask for the moon and Jupiter.  It’s a great seat to be in, isn’t it?  The Bucs don’t need to move Hanrahan, probably don’t even want to, they just need to sit back and listen.

To think about what Hanrahan might have been a part of last season, as the Rangers nearly shocked the world, is pretty cool.  What a difference Hanranator could have made for the Rangers.

But damn, we’re glad Hanrahan wasn’t moved when he wasn’t at his highest value.  It could be argued he won’t be valued higher than he is right now.

Hanrahan has blown away the competition with his first half.

Now it’s going to be cool to see what offers the big time contenders come up with to blow away Captain Neal Huntington.  All because of a trade of Sean Burnett a few years ago.

Buckle up the clock is ticking.

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