Red Sox avoid arbitration with new closer Joel Hanrahan

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Joel Hanrahan, who the Red Sox acquired from the Pirates last month, has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $7.04 million.

This was Hanrahan’s final year of arbitration eligibility and so he’ll be a free agent next offseason, which along with the high price tag and Jason Grilli’s emergence played a part in Pittsburgh looking to trade him. He made $4.1 million in 2012.

Manager John Farrell has already said that Hanrahan, not Andrew Bailey, will begin the season as the Red Sox’s closer. Hanrahan saved 36 games last season and 40 games in 2011, throwing a combined 128 innings with a 2.24 ERA and 128/52 K/BB ratio.

The Giants are considering Pablo Sandoval at second base

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Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.

It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.

Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.