The Pittsburgh Pirates have reportedly reached a deal to send closer Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox in a multi-player deal.
The Pirates will receive four players from the Red Sox. John Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that two of them are minor leaguers: Jerry Sands, a first baseman-outfielder; and Stolmy Pimentel, a right-handed pitcher.
The deal is contingent on the players passing physicals and probably will not be completed until after Christmas.
The deal also means Jason Grilli, recently signed to a two-year deal by the Pirates, should move into Hanrahan’s role as closer.
The 31-year-old Hanrahan avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $4.1 million deal before last season. He is expected to make $7 million from arbitration for next season. Hanrahan came to the Pirates in a 2009 deal with the Washington that sent relief pitcher Sean Burnett and outfielder Nyjer Morgan to the Senators.
Hanrahan had a 5-2 record, 2.72 ERA and 36 saves for the Pirates last season. He has 96 saves in his career, including 82 with the Pirates. He had 67 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings but struggled with control, walking 36.
Sands, 25, is a power hitter who played in 70 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers and hit four home runs while batting .244. He was acquired by Boston in a blockbuster deal that sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, pitcher Josh Beckett and infielder Nick Punto to the Dodgers.
Sands hit 55 home runs and drove in 155 runs over the past two seasons in the Dodgers’ Class AAA affiliate in Albuquerque in the Pacific Coast League, which is famous for its hitter-friendly environment. He was drafted by the Dodgers in the 25th round of the 2008 draft.
Pimentel, 22, has a fastball clocked in the mid-90s but registered a 4.37 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in six minor-league seasons. He had a 6-7 record and 4.59 ERA pitching for Class AA Portland (Maine) in the Eastern League last year.
The two other players in the deal are to be named later, but the Pirates have a glaring need at shortstop and the Red Sox have an abundance of prospects at that position. Three are listed among their top-10 prospoects by Baseball America are Xander Bogaerts, who is No. 1; Jose Iglesias, who is ninth; and Deven Marrero, 10th.
The acquisition of Sands could mean the Pirates will attempt to deal first baseman Garrett Jones, who is coming off a 27 home-run season in which he batted .274.
Hanrahan will come to a team in the Red Sox that already has a closer in Andrew Bailey. Obtained in a trade by Oakland, Bailey struggled with injuries last season and appeared in only 19 games. In three strong seasons as the A’s closer, Bailey averaged 25 saves a season and had an ERA of 2.07.