Pirates Targeting Young Shortstops in Joel Hanrahan Trade Talks

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been aggressively shopping closer Joel Hanrahan and have drawn at least some level of interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox.

Hanrahan has saved 76 games over the past two years. Image: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

According to John Perrotto of USA Today and Baseball Prospectus, the Pirates are eyeing shortstops Dee Gordon of the Dodgers and Jose Iglesias of the Red Sox in talks for their closer.

Neither Gordon nor Iglesias appear to have an immediate role on their current clubs, with Los Angeles set to go with Hanley Ramirez and short and Stephen Drew having signed in Boston. Drew’s contract is for just one year, however, so it remains likely that Iglesias continues to factor into Boston’s long-term plans more than Gordon does with the Dodgers.

Pittsburgh has Clint Barmes under contract for 2013, but to say that Barmes struggled in 2011 would be a huge understatement. In nearly 500 plate appearances, Barmes turned in a horrific .229/.272/.321 line, though he did play solid defense at short. Neither Gordon nor Iglesias project as strong offensive players, but it wouldn’t take much to be better than Barmes was last year and both young shortstops have high ceilings as prospects and could yet grow into offensive contributors. Entering his age-34 season, Barmes is likely only to get worse.

Of the two interested clubs, Los Angeles makes a bit more sense as a trading partner for Hanrahan. The Dodgers have spent a fortune building a roster full of superstars, but seem content to trust their ninth inning to Brandon League, who lost his closing job in Seattle last year. Hanrahan has been one of the better ninth inning hurlers in the league over the past few years and while most clubs are starting to understand that paying for saves is not a wise move, there remains a school of thought that having an “established” closer is a valuable thing. For a club like the Dodgers, who have put so many resources into the first eight innings, it would be silly to leave the last three outs to chance if they can get a guy like Hanrahan for the price of a minor league shortstop that has no role in the big leagues with your organization.

The Pirates have Jason Grilli ready to step is to the role should they move Hanrahan.

Topics: Boston Red Sox, Dee Gordon, Joel Hanrahan, Jose Iglesias, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates

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