By Jeff Louderback
Boston obtained the 31-year-old Hanrahan and minor league middle infielder Brock Holt for outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, right-handed reliever Mark Melancon, infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. and minor league pitcher Stolmy Pimentel.
Last season – one the was marked by an unprecedented rash of injuries to key players, the blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and rampant dyfunction that centered around manager Bobby Valentine and his poor communication skills – showed that it is critical that players understand their roles.
Entering last season, Andrew Bailey was expected to fill the closer’s role, but he suffered a freak thumb injury during spring training in a collision at first base. Valentine named Alfredo Aceves, and the Red Sox frequently struggled in the late innings because many relievers were not used in ideal spots.
With the addition of Hanrahan, whose fast ball routinely reaches 97 and 98, the Red Sox have a variety of hard-throwing arms Farrell can summon in the late innings, including Bailey, Aceves, Junichi Tazawa, and Franklin Morales.
Depending on who is healthy when Opening Day arrives, the Red Sox will likely use Tazawa, Uehara and any of the left-handers in the seventh, Bailey in the eighth and Hanrahan in the ninth. Of course, in some situations, Farrell will call upon a lefty in the eighth.
Hanrahan was 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP while earning 36 saves for the Pirates in 2012. He struck out 67 in 59.2 innings, allowing just 40 hits, but his 5.4 walks per nine innings ratio is a concern. In 2011, Hanrahan walked only 2.1 batters per nine innings while logging a 1.83 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 40 saves.
“I had some issues with my legs. I hurt my hamstring early on in the year, and then I had a sore ankle for a while that kind of went under wraps, ” Hanrahan told reporters after the trade. “I was wearing a tight ankle brace that restricted my movement, and that had something to do with it. It’s nothing I was concerned about.
“There’s times when you pick and choose who you want to walk when you walk someone as well,” Hanrahan added. “I don’t think the walks are going to be a concern. I feel good going to spring training, and that’s going to be the main thing.”