That Boston has encountered numerous injuries this season is no revelation. That Boston just acquired yet another utility player isn’t either. Nevertheless, Fenway faithful should prepare to welcome Jack Hannahan to the illustrious family.
Acquired today from the Seattle Mariners for cash or a player to be named later, Hannahan is a 30-year-old who started the year with an injury that pushed him out of the utility infielder job with the Mariners. Instead, he’s spent his entire season in the minors with Tacoma while hitting .228/.331/.331. Boston is not acquiring Hannahan for his bat, although his career numbers (.224/.311/.347 in 981 plate appearances) may inflate from playing his home games in Fenway instead of Safeco Field or McAfee Coliseum. Of course, he also has to face the pitching staffs of the Yankees and Rays more often, so maybe not.
Where Hannahan shines is in his defense prowess. Just at Tacoma this season he’s played third and second base as well as shortstop. He is a legitimate plus defender, giving Boston a versatile player who writes love letters to his fielding glove. Ultimately, that seems to be the only function of his presence. He’s not a good enough baserunner to pinch run for anyone other than David Ortiz.
The cost is nothing. At most, the Sox are giving up a piece of Triple-A or Double-A depth, and for a cheap utility player who can help much in the same way Alex Cora did for the Sox from 2005 to 2008.This also opens up the possibility of moving Jed Lowrie in another deal. It’s not a gamechanger by any means, just a decent exercise in bench-building on the cheap. No vesting options required.