I know, very lame title to the post. But what can I say? I for one did not want to incur a “missed opportunity.” See: Last post.
According to Keith Law, The Craig Hansen he has seen this season is not a “Big League” pitcher, and I cannot disagree. However, Craig Hansen still has a nasty slider, and with the velocity on his fastball, I still think that he can salvage a “Big League” career. Thrown into a pennant race, with his personal problems probably still lingering within his own mind, was probably not the best setting for Hansen to learn how to get “Big League” hitters out. But now, he has an opportunity to work on his craft…for a few years, at least.
The thing that is most promising about Craig Hansen, outside of his “stuff,” is the fact that he is only a 24 year old pitcher. And now this 24 year old pitcher moves to a place where winning just isn’t as much as a “priority” as it was in Boston. It is not that the Pirates organization does not want to win, it is just that realistically, they are not good enough to win, and I think this season they finally found a complete realization in this. They moved their best player in Jason Bay, and they moved a player in Xavier Nady whose stock will never be higher than it is right now. The return was nothing special, a bunch of solid prospects, some whose value is lower than it had been in the past because of the struggles they came across. But they need solid players to surround stars, and if the organization builds a team, then it isn’t unlikely that they could sign a few Good free agents once the base is built.
And that right there would be the definiton of the saying, “But I digress.” Back to Hansen…No pressure now. Craig Hansen can pitch for a big league club and try to become the pitcher that all the scouts thought he could become. He can work in situations where there is some pressure, but not the kind of pressure that costs the team a playoff spot. And it doesn’t hurt that the league itself is thought to contain a little less talent than that of the American League. So, maybe, just maybe, Hansen can record a few more outs, build up a little confidence, and try and become a “Big League” pitcher.