Joel Hanrahan, not Andrew Bailey, will be Red Sox’s closer

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While the Red Sox were finalizing their deal for Joel Hanrahan it was widely assumed that he’d begin 2013 as a setup man for closer Andrew Bailey, but now that the deal is official that won’t be the case.

Assistant general manager Brian O’Halloran told reporters today that manager John Farrell was given the choice between Bailey and Hanrahan as closer and opted for Hanrahan.

Bailey was a stud closer for the A’s before the Red Sox acquired him last offseason, but missed most of the season with a thumb injury and struggled in 19 appearances during the final six weeks. Hanrahan saved 36 games this year and 40 games in 2011, throwing 128 innings with a 2.24 ERA and 128 strikeouts during that time.

Meanwhile, the Pirates have already announced that Jason Grilli will replace Hanrahan as their closer.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.