Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that at least five teams remain in contention for Joel Hanrahan, who is trying to return from 2013 Tommy john surgery. Heyman says that the right-hander has received multiple contract offers, which have likely come from the Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Red Sox, and Rockies.
When last we heard about Hanrahan's progress to return to the majors, he had a showcase for interested teams. Scouts had good things to say about the closer, believing he was in excellent shape and appeared ready to help a major league team very soon. He was clocked at 92-93 mph on the radar gun, just short of his career average of 95 mph. As a fastball-slider pitcher, he relies on his fastball velocity to blow hitters away and set them up with a slider out of the zone. Hopefully his velocity will increase as he distances himself from surgery.
New York could use Hanrahan as a late-inning reliever to add depth to a somewhat shallow corps of relievers. They had a nice thing going with David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, and Adam Warren in the back of the bullpen, but with both David Phelps and Vidal Nuno now in the rotation, they could use someone like Hanrahan to add depth. The Yankees have already used 13 relievers in the first month of the season, and though Dellin Betances has been impressive, another option can only help.
The Tigers would likely use him to replace the injured Bruce Rondon and pair him with Joe Nathan, the Rangers could use more depth thanks to their injured-plagued pitching staff, and the Red Sox and Rockies are still both very interested as well.
The Yankees won't be able to sign him to the same deal they signed his former teammate Andrew Bailey to. Bailey signed a one-year deal with a team option for 2015 because there's a good chance he won't be able to make it back to the majors this season. By agreeing to an option-year, Bailey makes money now while rehabbing, but the Yankees also get him in 2015 when he's healthy and cheap. Hanrahan should be able to return sometime during the summer, so he'll want a short-term deal now so he can showcase himself during the season and sign a new contract in the offseason.