Rays to Acquire Ryan Hanigan & Heath Bell | The Process Report

Rays to Acquire Ryan Hanigan & Heath Bell

Update: The terms of Hanigan’s deal are official: $2.75M in 2014, $3.5M in 2015, $3.7M in 2016, with a $3.75M option in 2017 or an $800K buyout. Bell’s 2014 salary is $9M. According to this 2012 report, the Miami Marlins are paying $3.5M of Bell’s 2014 salary. Bob Nightengale from USA Today reports that the Rays are paying $5.5M for Bell’s services in 2014. Bell’s 2015 salary is not offset and the team option becomes guaranteed if Bell finishes at least 55 games in 2014.

Since 2010, Kyle Farnsworth is the only closer the Rays have employed that has not finished at least 55 games, and that was due to his injury issues late in the 2011 season. Rafael Soriano finished 56, and Fernando Rodney finished 65 and 55 games over the past two seasons.

Bell’s 2013 season was a mixed bag of results. His strikeout rate jumped from 20 to 25% while his walk rate improved from 10 to 5.6%. Those gains were hidden by a career-high 17% home run to flyball rate and a .346 batting average on balls in play. Moving from Chase Field to Tropicana Field should help regress the HR/FB issue while the Rays defense and positioning should help lower Bell’s BABIP.  — Jason Collette

Update: In addition to Hanigan, the Rays are expected to acquire reliever Heath Bell from the Diamondbacks in the reported three-team trade. The team has also reportedly agreed to a three-year extension with Hanigan valued just under $11 million. — Tommy Rancel

December 3rd: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Rays are set to acquire catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Reds in a potential three-team deal. Hanigan was features as a player of interest in October.

The Rays have expressed interest in acquiring Hanigan before, and it’s possible the price tag would be lower now. That’s because Hanigan, 33, is entering his final year of team control after posting career- worst marks across the board.

Like Molina, Hanigan earns his paycheck on the defensive end. He’s one of the game’s best receivers, with a strong understanding of how to use his body and mitt to create better angles for umpires and pitchers. Hanigan is smart about his craft and garners good grades for his staff-handling abilities. A catcher’s caught stealing rate is only as good as his pitching staff allows, but Hanigan’s is excellent thanks in large part to working with pitchers like Johnny Cueto, who shut down the running game on their own. Still, his pop times suggest he’s capable of nabbing thieves when challenged.

Hanigan is more limited at the plate, where he relies on his batting average and on-base percentage to buoy his production. He marries an impressive command of the strike zone with the ability to make contact at will, and he’s always a threat to walk more than he strikes out. Yet not all contact is created equal, and Hanigan has his fair share of poorly struck balls. He’s shown in the past he can sustain a good enough average for his on-base skills to play, which is a must for him heading forward — Tommy Rancel

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