There were just two Red Sox players whose arbitration salaries were expected to be significant, and, after negotiating a one-year deal with the first of those, Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston turned their attention to the other. New closer Joel Hanrahan, acquired from the Pirates in late-December in a six-player deal, has signed for one-year, $7.04 million according to agent Brodie Van Wagenen.
Hanrahan made $4.1 million in 2012, and, following a second-straight year as closer, it's not a surprise to see him get another significant bump in order to avoid an arbitration hearing. (Hanrahan, in his first year of arb-eligibility, owned just 20 career saves in 220 games pitched, whereas he's logged 76 in the 133 games since.) While $7 million might seem like a significant amount for a closer with two years of experience, look west and see the Dodgers paying Brandon League $21 million over three years, or the Nationals paying Rafael Soriano $28 million over two years with an option for a third, to go along with the draft pick and attached budget they sacrificed in order to sign him. The Red Sox could do a lot worse than trading the back-end of their 40-man roster for a $7 million closer.
Like Ellsbury, Hanrahan is in the last year of his initial contract, and will be a free agent following the season. Unlike Ellsbury, though, he's not likely to be tendered a qualifying offer when free agency hits, given that a near-$15 million commitment could be enough to sway Hanrahan into staying, given his career to date plus 2013's $7 million doesn't equal that amount.