Rays acquire Ryan Hanigan in 3-way trade with Reds, Diamondbacks

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Hanigan is set to become the Rays primary starter at catcher in 2014 while Jose Lobaton is now expendable.

UPDATE: The Diamondbacks are the third team in this deal and are sending reliever Heath Bell and cash considerations to Tampa Bay, reports Nick Piecoro of AZ Central Sports and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The Diamondbacks will also trade pitching prospect David Holmberg to the Reds.

Bell is owed $9 million for 2014 on a contract originally signed with the Marlins. Miami is paying $4 million of that salary while the Diamondbacks will pay at least an additional $1 million. He had a 5.09 ERA in one year with the Marlins, then a 4.11 ERA over 69 appearances with Arizona in 2013.

Holmberg, 22, made 26 starts for Double-A Mobile in 2013 and posted a 2.75 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He has not struck out many batters in his minor league career, but has shown excellent control around the plate. In addition to salary relief, Arizona is also receiving pitching prospect Justin Choate from the Rays. The 22-year-old spent his first minor league season in Low-A for the Rays with a 2.88 ERA over 16 relief appearances.

So the completed trade appears to be:
Reds receive: LHP David Holmberg
Rays receive: C Ryan Hanigan, RP Heath Bell, Cash considerations
Diamondbacks receive: RHP Justin Choate, PTBNL

Star-divide

The Tampa Bay Rays acquired catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Reds Tuesday afternoon, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal mentions that a third team could be included in the deal.

DRays Bay: Rays land Hanigan?

Hanigan is set to become the team's primary backstop in 2014 and could sign a multi-year deal in Tampa Bay as he is set to head to arbitration. The Rays apparently were not yet content with their catching situation despite re-signing Jose Molina to a two-year deal last week. Molina will now act as Hanigan's backup with Jose Lobaton being available for trade.

Molina and Lobaton had handled catching duties for the Rays in 2013, providing solid defense behind the plate. Molina had a 3.74 catcher ERA last year and has thrown out nearly 40% of baserunners in his career while Lobaton had a 3.73 catcher ERA. However, they combined to give the Rays just a 656 OPS from the catcher position.

Hanigan is also a very strong defensive catcher with strong pitch calling and excellent numbers catching would-be basestealers. He had a down year at the plate in 2013, hitting just .198/.306/.261 over 75 games, but has been much better in the past and should bounce back. Hanigan 112 games in 2012, he hit .274/.365/.338 with 14 home runs and also has a career OPS of 703. Hanigan has been a much better hitter against left-handed pitching over his career, but a platoon is not a real option as Molina has similar splits.

Hanigan, 33, had been the source of many trade rumors this offseason. One possible suitor, the Red Sox, agreed to a one-year deal with A.J. Pierzynski to take over as the team's starting catcher next year. With Devin Mesoraco ready to take over full-time in Cincinnati and Bryan Pena on the roster to back him up, Hanigan was expendable for the Reds.

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