The Red Sox and Pirates are close to a deal involving Joel Hanrahan
Hanrahan has quietly been one of the best closers in baseball over the past couple years, racking up 76 saves in the past two seasons and earning consecutive All Star appearances. His ERA in 2011 and 2012 combined was 2.24.
He averages a strikeout per inning, and has better than a 2/1 ratio of strikeouts to walks.
There's no telling how he'll handle the transition from Pittsburgh to Boston, and that could be a serious issue, since the two cities are remarkably different in how they handle their baseball teams. Hopefully for the Red Sox' sake, he can handle the additional media scrutiny that will undoubtedly be present in Boston.
Various reports say that the Red Sox will send 1B/OF Jerry Sands and pitchers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel to the Pirates in the deal.
Hanrahan will immediately become a strong candidate to take over the closing job in Boston. Andrew Bailey was supposed to be the closer last year, but was injured for most of the season. Time will tell whether or not he'll get his job back.
This is a move designed to strengthen both bullpens. The Red Sox had a couple lower-tier arms available, and needed a stud reliever. They're getting that in Hanrahan. The Pirates, on the other hand, needed more depth, and they'll get that with Melancon and Pimentel. Also, Hanrahan is one year away from free agency, and it was doubtful that he would stay in Pittsburgh anyway.
This is a solid move for the Red Sox, but their starting rotation still has some huge question marks that will need to be addressed before anyone really takes them seriously in 2013.