The Tigers look to have found themselves some bullpen help in former all-star closer Joel Hanrahan. The 32 year old right hander signed a one million dollar contract with the Tigers on May 2nd. With the recent bullpen struggles of the Tigers, this seems like a good low risk move.
Hanrahan has a career ERA of 3.85 and 100 saves. He made two all-star games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, he had an ERA of 1.83 and saved forty games. He has pitched 404.2 innings over his seven year career and has struck out 441 while walking 198.
Last year for the Red Sox, he had a 9.82 ERA over 7.1 innings. It was a year that was plagued with injuries that ended last May with Tommy John surgery. He was released by the Red Sox at the end of the season. He will now continue his rehab with the Tigers in the minors and it should take a month or two before we see him in the big leagues.
Hanrahan joins one of the many Tiger pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery. Earlier this year the Tigers lost Bruce Rondon to the season ending surgery. Had it not been for that injury, there may have been no need for Hanrahan. Joba Chamberlain had the surgery three years ago and Joe Nathan had it in 2010.
After the surgery, Nathan was released by the Minnesota Twins. The Texas Rangers took a chance on him and were rewarded with two All-star seasons and 80 saves. Tommy John surgery is not the career death sentence that it used to be. Pitchers are coming back with arms that are stronger than ever.
It is likely that this will not be the last move that the Tigers make in an attempt to sure up their bullpen. Hopefully Hanrahan comes back with enough time before the trade deadline so they can make a well informed decision of whether or not they need more help.
It is doubtful that this will be the Tigers last free agent signing of the year. They may have to address their shortstop problem come June after the amateur draft. At this point they could sign Stephen Drew without having to give up a draft pick for compensation. Getting shortstop that can hit is the Tigers biggest concern besides the bullpen.