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New York Yankees Continue to Bulk up Bullpen; May Sign Closer Joel Hanrahan

February 25th, 2014 at 6:20 AM
By Mike Warsaw

As the 2014 season approaches the New York Yankees are taking a closer look at the state of their bullpen. With depth and strength being  huge question marks heading into the season, the Yanks are looking at all available options. With the signing of Andrew Bailey yesterday, the Bombers are looking for help wherever they can find it. This doesn't mean they don't have faith in first year closer, David Robertson. But it does mean they will have a backup plan, just in case. And part of the plan may be former All Star closer, Joel "The Hammer" Hanrahan.

'Joel Hanrahan' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Yankees are looking at the former Pittsburgh Pirate and Boston Red Sox to add depth to an admittedly thin bullpen. Hanarahan began his career in a set-up role with the Washington Nationals in 2007. He was traded to the Pirates on June 30, 2009. After serving in a late inning role for parts of two seasons, Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle named Hanrahan the teams closer to start the 2011 campaign. The big righty responded with his best season as a pro. He finished the year with a career best 40 saves and 1.83 ERA and was named to his first All Star team. Hanarahan followed up with a solid campaign in 2012, racking up 20 saves and being named to his second consecutive All Star team. 

On December 26, 2012 he was traded to the Red Sox and began last season as the closer in Fenway. He notched his 100th career save for Boston on May 2, but was placed on the disabled list with a right forearm strain on May 7th. After an MRI, it was revealed that Hanrahan had damaged his right flexor tendon. On May 16, 2013 he underwent Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow and missed the remainder of the season. Hanrahan finished the injury plagued year at 0-1 with 4 Saves a 9.82 ERA in only 9 games. The Red Sox released "The Hammer" on October 31, 2013.

Hanrahan 32, features a four seam fastball that averages between 96-99 mph and has topped out a 102 mph. When healthy he is a dominant back-end reliever. The Yanks are trying to set themselves up for success and are exploring all options at this point in time. Robertson is the first line of defense. If all goes according to plan then Robertson will be the man in the ninth inning for the Bombers. Unlike Bailey, Hanarahan should be ready to pitch much earlier in the season. He is expected to be back healthy within the first half of the season. He would be a solid option in the late innings and would serve as Robertson's set-up man. Like Bailey, he could also slide into the closing role if he is needed to do so.  

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Tags: Baseball, MLB, New York, New York Yankees

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