Details on Hanrahan’s contract and timetable
Though the signing of Joel Hanrahan bears similarities to Jose Valverde’s return to Detroit last year, reaching a deal and then working him back to game readiness, there are key differences.
- Hanrahan signed a Major League contract, guaranteeing him a $1 million base salary with the potential for another $2 million in incentives.
- Instead of starting out on a minor-league contract, Hanrahan was immediately placed on the disabled list, something the Tigers can do with him while coming off Tommy John surgery. Once he’s ready for game work beyond extended Spring Training, the Tigers can place him on a minor-league rehab assignment for up to 20 days.
- While Valverde’s deal included an opt-out date Valverde could exercise if he wasn’t called up by a certain date, Hanrahan does not have a set timetable. The rehab assignment rules already put a limit on how long the Tigers can keep him in the minor leagues.
So how much time can we expect Hanrahan to need before getting to Detroit? Nobody’s putting a timetable on it, but judging from the quotes from Hanrahan and his agent, Larry Reynolds, a June return clearly sounds like a goal.
“I don’t think anybody wants to say you have to be back June 1,” Hanrahan said on the conference call announcing the deal. “If I’m ready in 30 days, that’s great. If it takes 40 days, I think we’re all on board.”
Said Reynolds: “I think the history of this is case by case. But optimistically, there’s a timeframe of 5-8 weeks from now. He has to go through a Spring Training scenario. …
“Optimistically, I’d love to see six weeks, but we don’t know. It’s going to be up to Joel and the medical folks.”
What can we expect from Hanrahan when he gets here? That, too, will require some time to find out.
Before Tommy John surgery a year ago, Hanrahan was a power reliever, averaging 96 mph or better on his fastball every season since 2010 according to Fangraphs. That fastball comprised three-quarters or more of his pitch selection the last three years. He also threw a hard slider from 85-87 mph.
When Hanrahan threw for teams a couple weeks ago, his fastball was reportedly around 92-93 in a non-game situation.
“At this point, it’s kind of a day to day thing,” he said on the conference call. “I was happy where my velocity was when I did that show case at 11 months. I think the more I get into a competitive atmosphere, the more it’ll come up. You get that competitive adrenaline going, things pick up a notch or two.”
Meanwhile, he said, “I’m able to throw a slider again, which I haven’t been able to do in a while.”
If he gets back close to where he was, even if he battles some command issues so soon after surgery, that’s a pretty good presence in a setup role. It’s a similar arsenal as Joba Chamberlain, though Chamberlain throws a better slider with usually a slower fastball.