Is Tommy Hanson Worth A Look?


Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this morning, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim announced that they would not be tendering (or making) an offer to right-handed pitcher, Tommy Hanson.  This move seemed innocent enough for those in Reds country.  In contrast, upon the reading of the decision, my mind immediately jumped to how perfect of a fit Hanson could wind up being for this franchise.

A little background on those who may not be familiar with the aforementioned Hanson:  his career began innoxiously enough when he was selected in the 22nd round (677th overall) of the 2005 draft by the Atlanta Braves out of Riverside Community College.  Guys picked that late in the draft usually are not expected to amount to much, especially ones who never even played major Division I college baseball.

Fast forward to 2007 and Hanson was already on the Braves radar, being named the best pitching prospect in the South Atlantic League.  Just a year later, Baseball America ranked him the top pitcher in the Braves organization and he was also crowned the MVP of the esteemed Arizona Fall League.  Come mid-season 2009, Hanson was widely regarded as the premier prospect in all of baseball; the Braves could wait no longer to bring him and his darting curveball to the show.

In just under 130 innings that season, Hanson showed his promise, finishing with an ERA south of 3 and averaging over 8 K/9.  In what can be considered his only full season the following year, his numbers took a minor dip, but still threw over 200 innings for a playoff club.  He was slowed in 2011, yet he still produced career highs in opponent average against (OAV), walks/hits per inning pitched (WHIP) and strikeouts per nine innings (K/9).

Nearly a year to the day (November 30, 2012), Hanson was shipped off to the Angels in an attempt to help the Braves re-tool their bullpen, as he was viewed as a surplus good.  Hanson did himself no favors by having an injury plagued season and not contributing in his time that he was healthy.  In what was a dreadful year in the city of Angels, some anger may have been taking out on the fact that the gamble did not work with Hanson and he was subsequently non-tendered.

I’m not in the business of projecting contracts (thankfully), but if Tommy Hanson can be had at a reasonable price, his flyer is unquestionably worth the grab.  Phil Hughes was virtually run out of New York this past year and he got a 3-year/24 million dollar deal from Minnesota just this week, so to think Hanson would come cheap would be overzealous.  Due to his injuries and inconsistency though, the price may be cheaper than some believe.

The Reds rotation has certainties in it, such as: Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and Mat Latos.  With Bronson Arroyo likely gone and the age old question of where Aroldis Chapman belongs looming, adding more pieces to the puzzle is not necessarily a bad issue to have.  There is no question that the Reds priority should be to lock up both Mat Latos and Homer Bailey long-term, but in the meantime, Bryan Price would have himself a field day with the explosive arm of the still very young and talented, Tommy Hanson.