The Detroit Tigers, with one of the baseball's worst bullpens, have signed relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan, they announced. The deal is a one-year, $1 million Major League contract, which includes incentives that can boost his salary up to $3 million, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. Hanrahan will begin the season on the disabled list in order to build up arm strength in the minor leagues.
Hanrahan, 32, is coming off of a 2013 campaign that was shortened due to having Tommy John surgery. He was throwing as hard as 93 MPH in a showcase that he held for teams just a few weeks ago, which prompted many teams to show interest in signing him.
In the three years before his surgery, from 2010 to 2012, Joel Hanrahan was a fantastic for the Pirates. During that time, he went 10-7 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.172 WHIP over 205 games, in which he pitched 198 innings (141 ERA+). From 2011 to 2012, Hanrahan averaged 38 saves a seasons. The Tigers were smart to take a chance on Hanrahan, especially since he was brilliant prior to having needed his surgery.
The Tigers bullpen has been one of the worst in the Major Leagues, posting the second-worst bullpen ERA, fourth-worst batting average against, and have allowed the third-worst OPS. In order to be a contender this season, the Tigers needed to improve their bullpen and taking a chance on Hanrahan definitely serves that purpose. He could be really key down the stretch.