After much speculation the trade that sent Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox was made official. Joining him will be Brock Holt. As expected the Pirates received Jerry Sands, Stolmy Pimentel and Mark Melancon but they also received Ivan DeJesus.
Joel Hanrahan was due to make $7 million this season, a raise over his $4.1 million salary from a season ago. It became apparent that the Pirates were shopping the closer when Jason Grilli was re-signed. As a Pirate Hanrahan made two all-star games and converted 82 of 94 total save opportunities.
“Thank you to the @Pirates and the Pirate fans and city of Pittsburgh for 3+ great years,” Hanrahan said on Twitter. “I enjoyed every minute of it!!! I’m very excited to be joining the @RedSox and look forward to joining the great history of Boston and making some new history!!!”
Holt saw time as the starting second baseman last season after the injury to Neil Walker that ended his year. Holt hit .292 in 24 games and 72 plate appearances. Last season in the minors, Holt was a .344 hitter.
“Thank you @Pirates for everything,” Holt said on Twitter. “Enjoyed my stay and learned a lot!! Good people in that organization!! Excited to join the @RedSox!!! Looking forward to being part of something special!!! #RedSoxNation”
The decision was a tough one for General Manager Neal Huntington but one that he felt had to be made.
“While acknowledging that trading Joel Hanrahan was a difficult decision, we are pleased that the direct result will be the addition of three players who will very likely impact our major league club this season plus a pitcher who will add to our deep and talented pitching prospect base,” Huntington said in the Pirates press release.
Sands excelled in the Dodgers minor league system including his 2010 season in which he had 35 homers and 93 RBI with a .301 average while splitting time in high-A Great Lakes and double-A Chattanooga. In 2011 he saw some time with the Dodgers but was never given a real chance. Sands 24, also has some underrated speed and had six assists in limited time in 2011. His ability to play first base and the outfield gives him a decent chance of making the Opening Day roster.
“Jerry Sands has impressed our scouts with his well-rounded tools package, highlighted by his ability to command the strike zone as a hitter and drive the ball for extra base hit potential,” Huntington said. “Additionally, his defensive versatility will increase his opportunity to contribute to our major league club in the near term as well as in the years to come.”
Pimentel is more of a pet project that needs to develop. Once declared ‘untouchable’ when the Pirates tried to get him for Jason Bay, the 22-year-old Pimentel now has to start over. He was once a top-10 prospect but has inconsistencies dogged him starting in 2010. Last season was the culmination of it all, as he struggled with double-A Portland getting an ERA over 9.5 in 15 games. He allowed 75 hits in 50 1/3 innings. He had an 0-9 record during that time. A change of scenary could help and his young age means two years or so of growth is not the end of the world. This result will take time.
“Stolmy Pimentel is a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher with a quality pitch package as well as several other traits of major league starting pitchers,” said Huntington. “We believe we can help Stolmy reach his potential as a quality major league pitcher.”
Melancon excelled in 2010 and 2011 with the Houston Astros. After uncertainties, Melancon [who was drafted by the Yankees] became closer in 2011 and saved 20 games, something the Pirates could use if Jason Grilli is unable to close. Huntington has said that Grilli will come into Spring Training as the team’s closer. Melancon was traded to the Red Sox last year for Jed Lowrie with the intention of possibly becoming the closer. Some where, things faltered and his ERA suffered at 6.20 and his WAR was -0.6. Melancon uses five pitches a fastball, sinker, changeup, cutter and curve ball something that Pitching Coach Ray Searage will appreciate. Melancon will need a make over similar to Joel Hanrahan when his nearly 8 ERA came to Pittsburgh but it can be done.
“Mark Melancon has been a quality major league reliever with closing experience who displays key subjective and objective indicators as a candidate to bounce back from a challenging 2012 season,” Huntington said. “Similar to when we acquired Joel Hanrahan, our scouts saw a quality pitch package that was not accurately reflected by his present level of performance. Mark will be a solid addition to our bullpen.”
DeJesus saw time with the Dodgers in 2012, and his power will not wow anyone. He has some line drive power, average speed and an average glove. His depth will help this team as he mostly plays middle infield but can play third base and the outfield if needed. His ability as a utility player could help him make the Opening Day Roster. He has a .298 career average in the minors and was the Dodgers Minor Leaguer of the Year in 2008.
“Ivan DeJesus is a versatile and reliable defender who can handle the bat and will compete to make our major league club in an extra infielder role,” said Huntington.’
As it sits now, the Pirates have added Sands, Pimentel and Melancon to the team’s 40-man roster and because they had to make one move designated Chad Beck a reliever they claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays for assignment. The 40-man roster is now full.