Ex-Pirate and brief Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan is attempting a comeback from his 2013 Tommy John surgery. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, at least five teams are believed to have offered Hanrahan a contract. The teams involved in talks with the former closer are the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers, and Rockies.
About a year out from surgery, Hanrahan threw in a showcase for scouts recently leaving most of them very impressed. Normally, it takes a pitcher some time to get his velocity back after Tommy John surgery, but in Hanrahan’s case, he’s not too far away from full strength. According to scouts, he is back up to 92-93 mph and has looked sharp enough to have an impact at the big league level relatively quickly. Although he averaged 95 mph on his fastball before surgery, his arm strength will only improve and his current fastball matched with his big breaking slider could still be a lethal combination out of the pen.
The Yankees are becoming more in need of pitching depth after the news about Michael Pineda‘s DL stint. With Pineda being out for a while, the Yankees bullpen becomes even thinner than before now that David Phelps will be replacing him in the rotation, and Vidal Nuno is already filling in for Ivan Nova, who recently underwent successful Tommy John surgery. Losing those two relievers from the ‘pen has really created a hole in long relief and overall bullpen arms. Although the Yankees already have a closer in David Robertson, you can never have too many good arms out of the ‘pen. Shawn Kelley has been lights out in his set up role, but it wouldn’t be bad to have some insurance in case he or Adam Warren falters. Remember, Hanrahan had 40 saves in 2011 and 36 saves in 2012, so this could be a potentially big pickup for any team that signs him. Knowing that he won’t be ready most likely until early summer, it shouldn’t take a lot to sign Hanrahan, as he will likely seek a one-year deal. This way he can show teams he is healthy and try to grab a multi-year deal in the off season.