UPDATE: Red Sox assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran told media members on Wednesday that Joel Hanrahan will be the team's closer, not Andrew Bailey.
The Red Sox got their closer for Christmas -- okay, a day later -- as they officially acquired Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates on Wednesday as part of a six-player trade.
The Sox sent two of the players they acquired from the Dodgers in last summer's salary dump -- first basemanoutfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan De Jesus -- to Pittsburgh, along with pitchers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimental. In addition, the Sox acquired infielder Brock Holt in the deal.
Hanrahan, 31, is the centerpiece of the trade. He's a two-time All-Star who recorded the fourth-highest total of saves (76) in the National League over the last two seasons, while compiling a 2.24 ERA and holding opponents to a .205 average against (.187 in 2012). Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2008, Hanrahan has struck out 393 batters in 346 13 innings, an average of 10.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.
A second-round draft choice of the Dodgers in 2000, Hanrahan was signed as a minor-league free agent by the Nationals after the 2006 season and made his big-league debut in '07. He was traded to the Pirates in '09.
Hanrahan has one year remaining on his contract and is eligible to become a free agent after the 2013 season.
Melancon, one of the players headed to Pittsburgh, was a candidate to serve as Boston's closer in 2012 when he was acquired from Houston in a trade that sent Jed Lowrie to the Astros. But he fell back into a setup role when the Sox picked up Andrew Bailey from the A's, then pitched himself out of Boston's plan with a dismal '12 season (0-2, 1 save, 6.20 ERA in 45 innings). None of the other players traded by the Sox, save for possibly Pimental, is seen as having anything more than fringe major-league potential.
Holt, 24, is a lifetime .317 hitter in four minor-league seasons. A shortstopsecond baseman, he hit .292 (19-for-65) in 24 games with the Pirates at the end of last seson.