Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hanrahan Does Not Expect to Be Traded

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hanrahan Does Not Expect to Be Traded

Article excerpt

Pirates ownership and management repeatedly have said they will pay big money to their players when the time is right. They did a deal this spring with star center fielder Andrew McCutchen through the 2017 season with a club option for '18. That was a wonderful signing, but a lot of us want to see more. The next big test case will involve closer Joel Hanrahan, who has been as good as anyone in baseball this season and last. The time is coming quickly when the team will have to make a decision: Sign Hanrahan to a long-term contract or trade him. He is making $4.1 million this season and will be eligible for salary arbitration next season. He can become a free agent after the '13 season. Those of us who have been harsh critics of the Nutting ownership will have to take a step back if the Pirates make a big commitment to Hanrahan.

"I know it's a business and anything can happen, but I don't foresee them trading me away," Hanrahan was saying over the telephone Wednesday afternoon from Cincinnati. "I think they're going to keep me here so we can win a championship together."

Wouldn't it be nice if Hanrahan were right on all counts?

The man has the right mentality to be a closer. We know that. It's why, going into the game Wednesday night against the Reds, he had converted 10 consecutive save chances, 15 of 16 opportunities this season and 55 of 60 going back to last season. Not everyone can get the final three outs of a game. The pressure to do it is significant. "I don't want my teammates to battle for three hours and then have me come in for 10 or 15 minutes and mess up the whole game," Hanrahan said. There are few things more demoralizing to a team than a blown save that turns into a loss.

Hanrahan let that pressure devour him early in his career when he failed at closing with the Washington Nationals. "I thought I had to be perfect every game." It wasn't until he realized there is no such thing as perfection that he began to be successful. Now, he's willing to live with the results -- good or bad. Those results have been mostly good for him because of that approach. "I feel like if I have my stuff, I know I can get anyone out," he said.

Hanrahan doesn't always make it look easy. …

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