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Pirates have agreement to trade closer Hanrahan to Red Sox

| Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, 3:48 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan celebrates his save against the Cubs on July 25, 2012, at PNC Park. The Pirates agreed on Saturday to terms of a deal to trade Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

The Pirates have an agreement in place to trade Joel Hanrahan, one of the most prolific closers in franchise history, to the Boston Red Sox.

An industry source confirmed Saturday that a framework for the deal has been reached, pending the completion of physicals for all the players involved. The Pirates will receive four players and will send another player along with Hanrahan to Boston.

Two of the players the Pirates will acquire are outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands and right-hander Stolmy Pimentel.

Sands, 25, was drafted in the 25th round in 2008 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In October, he was sent to Boston to complete the nine-player trade that moved Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to L.A.

In 70 games in the majors, Sands has hit .244 with a .701 OPS. Last season at Triple-A Albuquerque, he batted .296 with 26 homers and a .900 OPS.

The Red Sox were considering using Sands as a platoon first baseman in 2013. He has a powerful swing, but it's also long and prone to whiffs.

Pimentel, 22, has a fastball that touches 95 mph and a slider that could develop into a plus pitch. In 22 starts last season for Double-A Portland, he went 6-7 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. In five seasons in the minors, he has averaged 7.11 strikeouts and 2.88 walks per nine innings.

The Pirates tried to acquire Pimentel in 2008 as part of the three-team trade that sent Jason Bay to the Red Sox and Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers. However, the Red Sox refused to include Pimentel, and the Pirates instead got Craig Hansen.

Hanrahan, 31, is fourth on the Pirates' all-time list with 82 saves. In 2012, he finished fifth in the National League with 36 saves and fifth with a 90.0 percent save percentage. Opponents batted .187 against him, which ranked sixth among NL relievers.

In seven outings against American League teams, Hanrahan notched five saves and didn't allow a run in seven innings.

In his final year of arbitration eligibility, Hanrahan can expect to make about $7 million next season after getting $4.1 million in 2012. A strong start earned Hanrahan his second straight All-Star berth last season, but he had a bumpy ride over the final two months and inflated his final stats.

The trade will impact the role of reliever Jason Grilli. For the first time in his career, Grilli will become a full-time closer. Two weeks ago, the right-hander re-signed with the Pirates for two years and $6.75 million.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or 412-320-7811.

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