When the Cincinnati Reds signed catcher Brayan Pena to a two-year deal a few weeks back, we knew the likelihood that Ryan Hanigan would be traded was very high. Monday, it came to fruition, as the Reds have agreed to trade Hanigan to the Rays, the Reds announced.
In fact, this is a three-way trade involving a name that should raise some eyebrows. The Diamondbacks are also involved, with reliever Heath Bell going to the Rays.
Also involved are left-handed pitcher David Holmberg (headed from D-Backs to Reds) and right-handed pitcher Justin Choate (headed from Rays to Diamondbacks). The D-Backs will also get a player to be named later or cash considerations from the Rays.
The Rays have already signed free agent catcher Jose Molina to a two-year deal this offseason, but it looks like Hanigan will be the primary starter -- as he's already agreed to a three-year, $10.75 million contract extension (he was arbitration-eligible this year, so this contract runs 2014-16), per Heyman.
Hanigan, 33, hit .198/.306/.261 with eight doubles and two homers last season in 260 plate appearances, but it was a huge step down from his usual production. In the previous four seasons combined, Hanigan hit .275/.370/.359. It's easy to see where the upside is, given that high OBP.
Another bonus for Hanigan is his ability to nail opposing would-be basestealers. He's led the majors in each of the past two seasons in the percentage of runners he's thrown out attempting to steal (48% in 2012, 45% in 2013).
Bell, 36, will pitch for the third team during a three-year deal he originally signed with the Marlins at the 2011 Winter Meetings. He had 15 saves and seven blown saves last season with a 4.11 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings last season for Arizona. He had the closer job at one point but lost it.
Holmberg, 22, was 5-8 with a 2.75 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 116 strikeouts in 157 1/3 innings for Double-A Mobile last season. He was the White Sox second rounder in 2009.
Choate, 22, was 1-3 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings last season for Low-A Hudson Valley.