I woke up early today, got in my car, drove from North Carolina back to Western PA, opened up my phone, and found out Joel Hanrahan had been traded to the Red Sox. Welcome home!
There are still quite a few unknowns with this deal, so let's start with what we know for now. Jim Bowden (Twitter link above) first reported it as Hanrahan for Jerry Sands and Stolmy Pimentel with more unknown players involved. Jon Heyman updated that to say that it's a six-player deal: two from the Pirates to Boston for four in return. That means there's still half of a trade we're not sure about yet.
Sands came up in the Dodgers' system and went to the Red Sox as part of the Adrian Gonzalez/Josh Beckett/Carl Crawford megatrade. He's a 25-year old corner outfielder/first baseman that's hit with power all through the Dodgers' system (35 homers in 2010 between Single-A and Double-A, 29 in Triple-A in 2011, and 26 in Triple-A last year). He didn't show much with the Dodgers in 2011 or 2012, though he really hasn't gotten an extended shot at the big leagues right now.
Pimentel is a hard-throwing 22-year old Dominican righty that hasn't had much success in the minors to this point and his prospect status has faded in the last couple of years. WEEI says that the Pirates were interested in him last time they dealt with the Sox (the Jason Bay trade), so presumably they still see something they like there even though he's hit a rough patch lately.
My gut reaction is that this is an underwhelming return (though I'd also tell you that Hanrahan is pretty hugely overrated by Pirate fans right now), but I don't really want judge this trade one way or another until I have some more time to think about it and until we know what the final tally is. I'll do my best to update this post as soon as possible, though you can always keep an eye on MLB Trade Rumors (where all of the links in this post were pulled from, of course) in the meantime.
UPDATE (10:42): Gordon Edes reports that Mark Melancon will also be in the deal, headed to the Pirates. Melancon, you may recall, was part of last winter's attempts by the Red Sox to acquire back-of-the-bullpen help, when they traded Jed Lowrie to Houston for him. Melancon was terrible for the Red Sox last year, but it was partially due to an explosion in HR/FB ratio, which is something that may have been out of his control. When he was with Houston he found success in 2011 by inducing a ton of groundballs (56%) with a decent strikeout rate (7.9 K/9, 21.4% K-rate). If he can get his home runs down back in the NL Central in 2013, I think there's a pretty good chance he'll be a solid reliever again.
There's still two more names to be reported/announced in this deal (one from each team), so there's still a pretty good chance that the tenor of final deal will be much different once we know all the pieces.