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2014 MLB Free Agent Profile: Joel Hanrahan

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The hard-throwing veteran underwent Tommy John surgery in May.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the Mets aren't interested in signing any injured pitching projects this winter, but Joel Hanrahan is one of the more intriguing players of the bunch. The former Nationals pitcher struggled in two-plus season in Washington but flourished after a trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2009 season.

A high-strikeout pitcher with an average fastball in the high 90s, Hanrahan has occasionally struggled with walks. From the time of the trade through the 2011 season, though, he excellent out of the Pirates' bullpen. He wasn't bad in 2012, either, as he managed a 2.72 ERA in 63 appearances despite a very high 5.43 walks per nine innings and an uncharacteristic 1.21 home runs allowed per nine. Even with his usual great strikeout rate—10.11 per nine that year—his 4.45 FIP was the highest single-season mark since his rookie season.

That didn't stop the Boston Red Sox from trading for Hanrahan last winter, but he wound making just nine appearances for them with terrible results before having the aforementioned surgery. Heading into 2014, there's no guarantee that Hanrahan will pitch, of course, but it's not unheard of for a pitcher to make it back to the big leagues in roughly a year, which Stephen Strasburg and Mike Pelfrey both did in recent years.

As a result, Hanrahan should be eminently affordable this winter, even if he were to sign a contract with significant incentives. He says he has a lot of interest and thinks he'll be ready in the spring, according to Sports Ilustrated, though he and the Mets have not been linked in any rumors this offseason.