Tigers sign Joel Hanrahan
Friday at noon Dave Dombrowski called a teleconference to announce that the Detroit Tigers have officially signed RHP Joel Hanrahan to a one year contract. The contract guarantees him $1 million, and could increase to $2 million with incentives. Hanrahan was considered one of the more dominant relievers in the MLB up until his arm injury last year.
Hanrahan only pitched in nine games with the Red Sox in 2013 before having season ending elbow surgery. A year replaced from Tommy John Surgery, the Tigers hope that he can recapture some of his past dominance. Over the course of his entire career he has a 9.81 K/9 rate and a 4.4 BB/9 rate. He was the closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 and 2012 and has recorded 100 saves with a 3.85 ERA, and a 3.75 FIP.
Take a look at Hanrahan’s Whiffs per Swing percentages between 2010 and 2012 when he pitched for the Pirates.
As you can see, Hanrahan’s slider was nasty, and his high whiffs/swing percentage confirms that (52.21% in 2010, 58.82% in 2011, and 59.85% in 2012). His best fastball whiff/swing percentage was 18.35 in 2012, and he also had an average velocity of around 97 MPH between 10’ and 12’. Yeah, those are some pretty darn good numbers.
Obviously, there is no guarantee that Hanrahan will be able to recapture the form that made him so dominant, but with the current state of the bullpen, the Tigers have nothing to lose. With that being said, the Tigers would not have signed him in the first place if their scouts didn’t like what they saw in his bullpen sessions last week.
There is no official timetable on when he will make his Detroit debut, but he has not faced live hitters since early 2013. My guess is that he will spend the month of May in Lakeland facing live hitters in Single A, and then will get called up sometime in the middle of June. Although I don’t think Hanrahan automatically means that the Tigers’ bullpen is fixed, I do think it’s a giant step in the right direction. Due to the cost and potential, this signing is low risk, and could be highly rewarding. This next sentence might sound unprofessional, but it’s all I can think of to close this article. Man, would it be nice to have another reliable arm in the bullpen.