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Joel Hanrahan, Red Sox, Avoid Arbitration With One-Year Deal

The last of the major arbitration-eligible players settles with Boston, leaving only the smaller deals in its wake

Doug Pensinger

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.