Having tackled the offense, defense, starting pitching, and catching in the offseason, the Red Sox are now trying to improve their bullpen.
Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan appears to be their top target, and a major league source has confirmed a report by CBSSports.com that they have engaged in trade talks with the Pirates.
The Red Sox have long admired Hanrahan, a righthander whose 2012 season wasn’t as good as 2011, when he earned 40 saves with a 1.83 ERA and 1.049 WHIP. Hanrahan walked only 16 batters in 2011, but walked 36 in 2012, when he had 36 saves with a 2.72 ERA and 1.274 WHIP.
Because of his control issues, some of Hanrahan’s saves last season were of the heart-attack variety. The Sox tried to get Hanrahan, who has a tremendous slider, in 2010 but could not swing a deal.
The Red Sox are said to be competing with the Dodgers for Hanrahan. The Pirates are looking for a starting pitcher, and the Sox would possibly give up Franklin Morales or Alfredo Aceves. The Pirates may be thinking more along the lines of Felix Doubront, which would be a deal-breaker, according to the major league source.
A trade would be preferable to free agency for the Sox in trying to help a bullpen that has a number of middle-to-late-inning options. They also don’t appear completely sold on Andrew Bailey as closer.
The Red Sox bolstered their amateur and professional scouting and player development staffs with a host of new hires and in-house promotions, which were announced Thursday.
Among the most notable was Mike Rikard being named national scouting coordinator. He is sure to have a huge say in which players the Red Sox draft.
Also in amateur scouting, John Booher was named national crosschecker, Quincy Boyd and Jim Robinson regional crosscheckers, and Tom Kotchman, Brian Moehler, John Pyle, and Willie Romay area scouts.
On the professional scouting side, Steve Peck was promoted to special assignment scout and Dave Klipstein to major league scout, while Anthony Turco was named a professional scout.
Jared Banner was promoted to assistant director of player personnel after serving as coordinator of amateur scouting. Mike Murov was promoted to coordinator of baseball operations after being an assistant for the past two years. On the player development side, Duncan Webb was been promoted to assistant director of player development and Laz Gutierrez to coordinator of player development programs.
Among the other notables appointments, Tim Hyers was promoted to minor league hitting coordinator after serving as the area scout for Georgia for the last four years. And the highly regarded George Lombard, who is expected to be a major league manager someday, was promoted to minor league outfield and base running coordinator. Lombard had served as manager of the Gulf Coast League Red Sox for the last two years.