Detroit Tigers One of (At Least) Five Teams “In The Running” For Reliever Joel Hanrahan


April 13, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan (52) pitches during the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Detroit Tigers are believed to be one of five teams “in the running” to land free agent reliever Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan is currently rehabbing from a Tommy John surgery he underwent a year ago.

"The Tigers, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox and Rockies are believed among teams showing strong interest in free-agent closer Joel Hanrahan, who is likely to sign before holding another open showcase.Hanrahan is believed to have received multiple offers at this point, with at least those five teams thought to be in the running for the hard-throwing two-time All-Star."

There are, of course, the usual caveats like “believed among teams showing interest” and “believed to have multiple offers” and “at least those five teams” (emphasis mine), but let’s go with it for now. This isn’t anything like hard hitting breaking news at this point — we figured the Tigers were interested — but it is confirmation that they’re still pursuing Hanrahan after attending his throwing session a couple of weeks ago.

I suspect we’re talking about Major League offers here, and that would probably be just fine for the Tigers who quite obviously need bullpen help in the worst way (they have a 5.48 bullpen ERA at the moment, 2nd worst in baseball).

Hanrahan would help the maligned relief corps, but he probably wouldn’t revolutionize it. It’s really hard to peg him — he pitched all of seven innings last year — but let’s assume that the Steamer projections do a fairly good job. Hanrahan’s current Steamer Projection is for a 3.66 ERA and 3.77 FIP. That’s very solid but not a whole lot better than that. The current league average line for MLB relievers is a 3.70 ERA and 3.77 FIP. An average arm would do wonders for the current bullpen (and probably Brad Ausmus‘ sleep cycle), but there’s only so much one guy can do.

Still, he’d become the best option for the 8th inning fairly quickly and I’d be surprised if any of the other teams listed would have need of him as urgently as Detroit does.