Joel Hanrahan has been a quality closer for the Pirates for the past two seasons, but he’s about to get another raise in arbitration and can become a free agent next offseason. With that in mind, ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that the Pirates are currently trying to gauge his trade value.
Hanrahan is coming off an odd season in which he posted a 2.72 ERA, 36 saves and a 67 strikeouts over 59 2/3 innings, but he also averaged 5.4 BB/9, up from 2.7 BB/9 over the previous two seasons. The 31-year-old right-hander made $4.1 million in 2012 and will likely see his salary rise to the $6-7 million range next season.
Capuano would be a nice addition to the Pirates’ rotation, as he has a solid 4.12 ERA over the past two seasons, but he’s also set to become a free agent after 2013. You’d like to think the Pirates could get more for Hanrahan, or at least someone who could contribute beyond next season. Signing Russell Martin and dealing Hanrahan would send mixed messages to the fanbase, so I doubt this would be a real possibility unless the Pirates are able to bring back Jason Grilli, who FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday is drawing some interest as a closer.
The Brewers and Red Sox have struck a deal. The key part of it: reliever Tyler Thornburg is heading from Milwaukee to Boston. The entire package is not yet known, but there are simultaneous reports that Travis Shaw and two minor leaguers, Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington, are heading to Milwaukee.
Thornburg, 28, is coming off of a fantastic season in which he posted a 2.15 ERA while striking out 90 batters in 67 innings across 67 appearances. Thornburg assumed closer duties and saved 13 games for the Brewers after Milwaukee traded Jeremy Jeffress to Texas. Thorburg will presumably return to a setup roll in Boston behind Craig Kimbrel. The Brewers will likely go with Corey Knebel as their closer in 2017.
Shaw played third base, first base and some outfield for Boston last year but saw his production dip upon being exposed to everyday play for the first time as a big leaguer. The Sox are reportedly going to give Pablo Sandoval a shot to claim the third base job once again this spring, rendering Shaw superfluous.
The Baseball Writers Association of America has elected Claire Smith the winner of the 2017 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. She becomes the first woman to be given baseball writing’s highest honor. She will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 30.
Smith, 62, covered the New York Yankees for five years beginning in 1983 for the Hartford Courant before becoming a columnist with the New York Times. She later served as an editor and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1998-2007. She is now ESPN’s news editor of remote productions, responsible for the integration of news and analysis in live game broadcasts and the Baseball Tonight and Sports Center studio programs. She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and winner of three New York Times Publishers’ Awards.
Smith was named Sports Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists in 1997, received the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association of Women in Sports Media in 2000 and the Sam Lacy Award at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame in 2010. She has served on the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee and was the chair of the New York chapter of the BBWAA in 1995 and 1996.