On June 30, 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired a reliever who had lost the closer's job with the Washington Nationals, posting a 7.71 ERA in the season's first three months.
His name was Joel Hanrahan, and he not only showed immediate improvement in Pittsburgh, but re-emerged as a closer who went 76-for-84 in save chances the past two seasons.
The Pirates see similarities in Mark Melancon, the most experienced of the four players they acquired from the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday for Hanrahan.
The Red Sox, seeking greater certainty in the closer's role, made an understandable decision in acquiring Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt for Melancon, pitcher Stolmy Pimentel, outfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr.
Hanrahan, 31, will be the Sox's new closer, reducing oft-injured Andrew Bailey to a setup role and giving the team a variety of right-handed options in the bullpen. But no one should be surprised if Melancon offers comparable value, and not simply because he...