Maybe he's not. Relief pitchers that aren't this guy, this guy (the guy in the foreground), or this guy, are almost always up-and-down projects, frauds, or very good players who die because they're human.
I called into Extra Innings tonight and spoke with the always knowledgeable and long-over-due-for-a-plug-on-this-blog, David Todd; he mentioned (and distanced himself from) the trade philosophy that "any relief arm is worth dealing for a starting bat." He went on to say that it'll be interesting how rich of an offer we'll be able to command for Hanny.
What I want answered is this (and it's unanswerable by anything but the future): how much longer can Joel Hanrahan throw a 96-99 mph fastball anywhere he wants, and compliment it with the best 12-6, 86 mph slider of all time? Please, understand exactly what I'm saying here: this guy has proven himself to be supernaturally good at throwing a baseball. Not supernaturally lucky. Good. ...But in a small-ish sample size.
I say we're coming up to the point where we don't deal a piece like him. If we trade him this July, we're looking at pulling the rug out from under Cutch, Neil, Charlie and some overperforming low-ceiling guys we desperately need to buy into this system. This isn't the same thing as upsetting 2009 Jack Wilson by trading Nyjer Morgan.
This would be trading a guy who isn't just "hot" but also stupidly great at using a baseball to make people look stupid for trying to use a bat.
Yes, Joel Hanrahan plays a position that is flukey, year to year. He is also the absolute best person on the planet at his job, as of right now. Should we trade away? or are you willing to leave creepy car comments in regards to this post?