Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hanny Goes To Boston For Pair Of Prospects; More To Come

Well, the Hammer is off to Beantown for a pair of mid-level prospects, OF/1B Jerry Sands and RHP Stolmy Pimentel. That's the confirmed part of the trade, pending physicals. There may be a couple more players, maybe from both clubs, added to the deal. It does look like the Bucs are still collecting prospects rather than filling ML needs, and that's probably the right road considering Hanny's market value.

Sands joined the Dodger organization in 2008, moving to Beantown as a part of the Adrian Gonzalez/Josh Beckett/Carl Crawford deadline blockbuster late this summer. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that "Jerry Sands is a terrific athlete w/power. High ceiling. Holliday type. Will be good get for Pirates..."

Well, we don't know about all that enthusiasm, but Sands did have some great power numbers at Albuquerque - 55 HR, 192 RBI in his two AAA years and was a Topps AAA and PCL All-Star. Of course, he was 24 and the PCL is a hitter's paradise, so we'll see how that translates.

He's a righty OF/1B, and the Pirates already have five guys vying in the pasture, with Garrett Jones, Gaby Sanchez and Clint Robinson lined up at first. It'll be interesting to see where Sands fits in. Playing in 70 big league games, he's hit .244 with 3 HR in 251 PA, along with 60 K. Did we mention he has, like many big boppers, a pretty long and loopy swing?

Sands has an average arm, OK speed and raw power, so it's all a gamble on his upside, a sorta Christmas lotto ticket stuffed in their stocking. Sox Prospects considers him a role player, saying that he "projects as bench player at the major league level, capable of filling in during stretches." Mike Hulet of Fangraphs basically agrees, writing that "With the ability to play both corner outfield spots as well as first base, and with plus raw power, (he) could be a solid right-handed bat off the bench, with an outside shot at developing into a big league regular."

With all the Pirate outfield prospects still playing A ball and no real power righty at first base, he's probably a gamble worth taking, either to push Sanchez or platoon with Travis Snider.

Additionally, Sands' arrival would seem to grease the skids for Garrett Jones' departure or some other logjam clearing by the Bucs. That should be the next storyline to unfold before camp begins on February 11th.

Stolmy Pimentel in a 22 year old (23 in February) RHP who's had not a great deal of success in AA ball, but he has a heater that touches 95, a good changeup, slider and a slurve in progress. He's supposed to have good stuff and in scout talk is "projectable," but is still learning to pitch and has problems repeating his mechanics.

Sox Prospects says that he has the "ceiling of fourth starter/fifth or late inning reliever at the major league level." Baseball America had him ranked as Boston’s No. 23 prospect (down from #6 in 2010), at No. 15 and Sox Prospects at No. 20, so he does have some upside even if trending down. And the Bucs know him; they tried unsuccessfully to pry him from the Bosox in 2008 as part of the Jay Bay deal, ending up with Craig Hansen instead.

Both players will go on the 40-man roster, and each has an option remaining. For Sands, that's not such a big problem, but it could become an issue for Pimentel who is nowhere near MLB ready.

With Hanny, the Red Sox get a guy who saved 76 games in the past two years, struck out 128 batters in 129-1/3 frames and gave up fewer than seven knocks per nine over the past two seasons. Conditioning and wildness questions - he walked 5.4 batters per game last season - were floated, but...

Tom Singer of noted in his blog that "In 2011, he was perfect — meaning, three-up and three-down, in 20 of his 44 save situations (converting 40 of them). In 2012, he was perfect in 16 of 40 save situations (with 36 conversions). The difference there is almost negligible."

He added "Hanrahan did 'lose it' in closer’s wilderness, pitching without a save on the line. In 2011, he was spotless in 12 of 26 such low-intensity outings. In 2012, he managed to stay clean in only four of 23 non-save appearances. In September, as he admitted to me, he also lost his fire. After the Pirates again free-fell out of the race, it simply became harder to pitch with any incentive. So perhaps Hanrahan didn’t lose his control, only his focus."

And the truth is that the only reason the Bucs moved him is not because of performance, despite his history of Hanrattacks, but the math. Hanny has made $6.75M so far in his six year career; he'll double that and more in arbitration this year before hitting free agency. We think he'll do just fine in Boston with Andrew Bailey; the Green Monster should be a lesser evil compared to the Clemente Wall.


WilliamJPellas said...

You would think there is another trade in the works. Surely the Pirates can't go into 2013 with all of the part time-platoon-1B-DH-OF types on the roster at the moment. Jones is already getting a tad expensive in arbitration, and Sanchez, if memory serves, will be arb-eligible after next season. In which case it didn't make a lot of sense to bring him here for a year and a half. Anyway, I think the Pirates got about what they could get for Hanrahan, given how close he was to his walk year, and given the horrible shape he's in. Various reports are indicating this is actually a larger trade, but the other names haven't been released yet. What do you think is going on here, Ron? Sanchez leaving town? Jones?

Ron Ieraci said...

They are setting themselves up for another deal, Will, that's for sure. I'd like to see the other players involved with Boston first. I've seen from from reports that mark Melancon or Franklin Morales may be involved, though others say it's just a swap of non-MLB guys, at least on the Red Sox side of the ledger.

But the Bucs do have a glut of MLB players for 1B/OF, and certainly Jones has the most value of the group. He's also the biggest stick to fill, although the FO did stock up on potential power guys with Sands and Clint Robinson.

Lastly, merry Christmas and a blessed New Years to you and yours, my friend.