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  1. Will Melancon be the Sawx closer or will they still go after Bailey or Madson?

    Comment by Wait Til Next Year — December 14, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  2. Nice trade, one that Ed Wade wouldn’t swing.

    Comment by Uncle Randy — December 14, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  3. I was first thinking that, at the stage they’re at, the Astros went after the completely wrong type of players. They should be stocking up on lower-level, high-ceiling guys, not lower-ceiling close-to-the-majors guys.

    But they did get a really good return. If Lowrie (by staying healthy) and Weiland (by sticking in the MLB rotation) can build up some value, they could flip them in a year or two for a lot more prospects than they could’ve got for Melancon alone.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — December 14, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

  4. Blowing 20% of your “save” opportunities is an encouraging sign?

    Comment by Nate — December 14, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  5. He probably pitched in the 8th at some points where you can blow saves but not earn them.

    Comment by Nik — December 14, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

  6. Teams always overpay for pitchers with the “closer” label.

    Comment by Husker — December 14, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

  7. Doubt they go after another established “closer,” but they could grab some more relievers. Cherington has already said that they’re unlikely to anoint a closer before spring training. It’ll probably be a spring training battle between Bard/Jenks/Malancon/whoever. I include Bard because I expect him to end up back in the bullpen, a la Neftali Feliz.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — December 14, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  8. The upside of Lowrie is great, chances of getting there… not so much.

    Weiland is a C prospect. His upside is a back of the rotation starter or a middle reliever.

    I’m of the relievers-are-fungible school, but still a solid trade for the Sox, made solider (let’s pretend that’s a word) by the fact that it fits their needs.

    If Weiland become a middle of the rotation starter somehow or Lowrie figures out how to stay healthy or hit righties or field SS at an average level, it’ll be a fantastic trade for the Astros. But right now, it looks to me like 5 years of a quality reliever in Melancon is worth more.

    Comment by Ari Collins — December 14, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

  9. The question isnt that Melancon isnt a good pitcher, but whether the Red Sox could have gotten more for the chips the traded away.

    Comment by Nik — December 14, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

  10. It’s possible, but it sure doesn’t seem like they rushed right into the first deal they found.

    Comment by Judy — December 14, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

  11. Melancon 2011:
    20 saves, 3 Holds, 5 Blown Saves = 82.1% success rate

    Comment by Matt — December 14, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  12. So after Scutaro, who do the Sox have at SS now? Does this mean Scutaro is simply THE MAN now, with a Util(IN) or AAA to be named later as an occasional backup? Or does this mean Boston is going to make a run at Rollins?

    Comment by David — December 14, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  13. Mike Aviles?

    Comment by Jimmy Hammond — December 14, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  14. aviles can play short

    Comment by rofe — December 14, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  15. As a RS fan, I like it for both teams. I like Lowrie well enough, but he’s a 2B. We should’ve traded him a year or two ago. As soon as we found out he wasn’t a SS or 3B, then he was automatically worth more to someone else as a starter. Weiland wasn’t without some highlights, mostly his 1st inning work. He’s no Ian Kennedy, but could follow a similar path where consistent starts in a low pressure atmosphere might yield a #3/4/5 SP at minimum wage.

    I thought Melancon looked like a deer in the headlights with NY, but he’s pitched better since then. Maybe he’s another guy that needed to establish himself outside NY. They used to be high on him. If he can be a closer, it’s a real nice deal for the RS. If he crashes, it still doesn’t cripple us.

    Comment by Joey B — December 14, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  16. and hit lefties

    Comment by rofe — December 14, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  17. We all know, Bard is not going to stick in the rotation. They need Bard in the 8th, who else are they going to use Albers or Aceves and Jenks health is a huge, with that being sad, sox got better with the addition of melancon

    Comment by Crash_Davis — December 14, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  18. Jose Iglesias, too.

    Comment by Jimmy Hammond — December 14, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  19. Lowrie wouldn’t receive the playing time in Boston that he is likely to see in Houston. This trade plugs a hole for the Sox, but Houston has the potential to really win this deal with a healthy Lowrie.

    Comment by TTT — December 14, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  20. Just an FYI but compare Melancon to Burke Badenhop who the Rays acquired a few days before for minor league catcher Jake Jeffries. They are two pretty similar pitchers talentwise. Obviously, Melancon is under team control for longer, but really, does that justify giving up on a pretty decent, albeit injury prone shortstop? And not only that, but also giving up Weiland who is decent depth, which the Red Sox sorely lack.

    Comment by Josh — December 14, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  21. On Melancon’s issues vs. lefties, it’s worth noting 2 things: he came up with a cutter last year that was an effective pitch and 5 of his 17 walks to lefties were of the intentional variety. Take those out and he’d have a 28/12 K/BB vs. them in 29 2/3 IP. There’s reason for optimism that he may have solved his lefty issues last year.

    Comment by Rob — December 14, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  22. If it was a different team trading a young, talented, but injury prone SS and a mid level starting prospect for a good but not great middle reliever, would the reaction be the same?

    This seems like a great trade for Houston and a pretty blah trade for Boston, esp with all the relievers that were out there on the FA market.

    Comment by Steve — December 14, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  23. Melancon is super cheap though. Perhaps they didn’t want to dish out for over inflated prices for relievers.

    Comment by JP — December 14, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

  24. Jose Iglesias at Fenway in 2012????

    Comment by Crash_Davis — December 14, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  25. yeah. scutaro to start, aviles to back up, iglesias in AAA as long-term answer although it’d be nice to see some kind of hitting at some point. that’s more SS depth that most teams have even with lowrie gone.

    lowrie and aviles were basically redundant (theoretically a SS but with questionable defense for a starter, but ok in a pinch, good bat for an MI, play all over the IF)

    rollins is pretty much the last thing they’re gonna do, weird question. this is them going cheap on a closer, why would they spend big on a multiyear deal for an old second shortstop

    Comment by wily mo — December 14, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  26. Bad move for the sox.

    Weiland never got a chance to relieve at the big league level, so we don’t know how his stuff would compare to Melancon in the bullpen. I thought the sox were stretching out relievers in the minors in hopes them developing the use of a third pitch on a consistent basis (ex. Alex Wilson).

    As for Lowrie, where is the wisdom in parting with a cost-controlled utility player that crushes left handed pitching, a weakness for the sox by the way.

    Wow, I am sure glad that Larry, I mean Ben, made this trade.

    Comment by Justin — December 14, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  27. uh. yeah. i guess they’re both pitchers, so, that’s one way of looking at it

    Comment by wily mo — December 14, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  28. WE HOPE SO!!!

    Comment by The Rest of the AL East — December 14, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  29. The Sox are a better team with Melancon in the pen. Lowrie isn’t the current starter (Scutaro) or the future starter (Iglesias) and Mike Aviles is a pretty good utility guy. But you still feel like one reliever is a pretty lousy return for a guy with Lowrie’s abilities. And even though Weiland was probably never going to be more than a 6th starter for the Sox he has value to a team like the Astros.

    Comment by Preston — December 14, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  30. Solidified, bro.

    Comment by doctorogres — December 14, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  31. Yeah I think this is a win for the Astros

    Comment by Eminor3rd — December 14, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  32. Seems to me like Weiland’s upside as a reliever IS Melancon, but we get to have it now, and there are several comparable pitching prospects (Wilson, Doubront, Tazawa) who still could emerge.

    Mike Aviles is a cost-controlled utility player who hits LHP well, and can actually stay healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I was pulling for Jed to start last season, but he’s through his age 27 season already.

    Also, the Red Sox were 2nd in the baseball vs. LHP with 116 wRC+. Hmmm, I wonder where there is a website where I can look things like this up easily?

    Comment by doctorogres — December 14, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

  33. They payed an over inflated price for a reliever just not in cash.

    Comment by Preston — December 14, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  34. Or, perhaps, “made even more solid”…

    Comment by Dick Almighty — December 14, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  35. This entire premise hinges on whether you believe Iglesias is the future SS.

    Is a team with a $180M payroll really going to roll with a SS who can’t hit at all, no matter how good his glove is? Maybe. The Yankees play Gardner in LF, but Gardner can get on base at least.

    Comment by Steve — December 14, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  36. As a Red Sox fan, I’m pretty sure we just got had. I’m not sure if I would have traded Lowrie for Melancon straight-up. I mean… Melancon is an okay reliever in the NL. … Yay? I might rather have the depth at 2B and SS.

    Comment by B N — December 14, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  37. First Aceves and now Melancon. Are the Red Sox going to trade for Phil Coke next and have a bullpen full of former Yankees?

    Comment by Brian S. — December 14, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  38. as long as they all pitch like aceves did last year that’s totally fine with me

    Comment by wily mo — December 14, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  39. Or they are both relievers who dominate right handers by getting groundballs but struggle against left-handers.

    Comment by Josh — December 14, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  40. No, Tyler Clippard — another one that got away…

    Comment by Justanotherfantoo — December 14, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

  41. That’s how I see it. Neither Weiland nor Lowrie figured in our plans. Weiland is probably our #7 SP, and we could probably get by with only one utility player. Probably didn’t need both Lowrie and Aviles on the team.

    We should be better off this year with Melancon. So if we’re better this year, how much value does Lowrie hold for us? I’d much prefer a closer or setup than a backup infielder, especially one that doesn’t provide a clear advantage over Aviles.

    Comment by Joey B — December 14, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  42. It’s too early to say Iglesias can’t hit. Yes, he put up shitty numbers in AAA as a 21-yo in his first full year of pro-ball, but most scouts agree that he’ll develop a decent hit tool thanks to his good batspeed and contact skills. The aggressive placement was made precisely because he would struggle. In AA he would’ve just gotten by with his naturally good plate coverage– they want him to completely struggle until he develops a good approach.

    Comment by doctorogres — December 14, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  43. I think this is hinged on the Red Sox request to allow the DH to be applied to any player such that they can DH for Iglesias and have their pitchers to hit.

    Comment by Joe — December 14, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  44. he’s pretty much a non prospect at this point.

    Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — December 14, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  45. Please do not compare Gardner’s hitting to Iglesias’ hitting.

    Gardners wRC+ of 105 (in the big leagues) would like to understand the “can’t hit at all” tag

    Comment by Joe — December 14, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

  46. I think you mean soldierified.

    Comment by Slartibartfast — December 14, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

  47. Ridiculous.

    Comment by NS — December 14, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  48. Not that it matters much, since they won’t get many wins, but who will close for the Astros now? Will they go back to Brandon Lyon or will they go with Wilton Lopez or somebody else in-house? They certainly aren’t going to invest to bring someone new in…

    Comment by DLowe — December 14, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  49. Two things to consider:
    1) Suppose Lowrie actually does stay healthy and puts up a 3-4WAR season. Given the current environment at SS, he could eaily be flipped for a ton of value. They could even potentially flip him mid-year though I think his value woud be lower as a half season would not remove/mitigate the injury prone tag.

    2) It allows them to plug another arm into the closer spot who can be overpaid for next offseason by another team (If I were a non-contending team, I would be plugging in new closers every year and flipping them at the deadeline/in the offseason to build the farm system)

    While I agree this seems to be the wrong timeframe type player for the Astros (he’ll be a FA by the time HOU will be anywhere near competitive), from a raw value perspective (and ignoring need) this trade seems like a big win for the Astros.

    Comment by Joe — December 14, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  50. Lowrie isn’t all that young anymore, so as far as his “abilities” go….I think we’ve pretty much seen them. Minimal XB power and really poor range and instincts in the infield. I think his upside is .800 OPS while being a liability in the field. I think Boston did well to get a player they can really use next year.

    Comment by hernandez17 — December 14, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  51. I agree. It is kind of a win-win trade. Apparently The R.Sox is not buying Lowrie’s health and The Astros realizes that relievers like Melancon grows on trees (3.47 FIP for a reliever is nothing special last year). If Lowrie breaks out, Astros can flip this immensely valuable asset for almost any prospect the FO likes.

    Comment by Kampfer — December 14, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  52. Bwahahahahaha! Trade has “stupid” written all over it.

    On no planet is Melancon worth Lowrie. Irrespective of his history on the DL, even if Lowrie was literally dead but held up with strings, this trade wouldn’t be worth it.

    Melancon was dumped by the MFY because he had no hope pitching to ALE batters. Yet here he is in the ALE. He’s going to get fucking destroyed.

    Comment by Sultan of Schwwingg — December 14, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

  53. I’m a David Carpenter fan!

    Comment by SKob — December 14, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

  54. Good scouting report! Intelligent, informative, and well spoken.

    Comment by SKob — December 14, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

  55. Great trade for the Astros. They have Villar and Jio in the minors, which gives them time to develop. So now they get to see if Lowrie can put it together, if so, then they can flip him in a few years if Villar or Jio work out.

    If not, then they lose a relief pitcher that while under control, is a decent setup guy.

    Comment by Neil — December 14, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

  56. Splits were much more reasonable in the minors.

    Comment by Brandon Warne — December 15, 2011 @ 12:04 am

  57. Better trade for the Astros, but can see it from the Red Sox POV too. Good for Lowrie’s career. Teams that just sit on 27-year-olds who can be starters somewhere else are asking for clubhouse problems.

    Comment by baycommuter — December 15, 2011 @ 12:23 am

  58. Because it wasnt with the Phillies

    Comment by Wes — December 15, 2011 @ 12:30 am

  59. For what it’s worth, in an interview after the trade, Lawrie said that an injury hampered his hitting from the left side. He said that’s not a problem anymore.

    Comment by CJ — December 15, 2011 @ 1:39 am

  60. This is a terrible trade for Boston. What leverage did Houston have? There are a ton of relievers still on the market, including a good, established closers. Even if the Sox have no interest in paying big money for a closer, they surely could have held out and postured for either a better haul or trading away a lesser piece. This deal would have sense if today’s date was July 31. It would have even made sense if it was around spring training time and few guys were banged up or not looking good. Otherwise, giving up a SS with three years of team control who can be a league average player or better if he stays healthy for a guy who is at best the a platoon set up man in a good bullpen is dumb no matter the context. The fact the Boston, in the middle of December, with time and options a plenty, had to actually spice up the deal by adding Weiland is comical.

    Comment by jpg — December 15, 2011 @ 1:59 am

  61. Weiland doesn’t provide any more depth than a Doubront or any other AAA pitcher… I don’t love the trade from the sox standpoint but it isn’t because of what they gave up… I just don’t like trading for closers who are actually just above average middle relievers. 3.46? FIP meh.

    Comment by Mr DeFreeze — December 15, 2011 @ 7:18 am

  62. I’ve always liked Lowrie, but I think we are way past the point of referring to Lowrie as a shortstop.

    Comment by Joey B — December 15, 2011 @ 9:21 am

  63. Lowrie is like Gregg Jefferies with a weaker bat. I don’t see a long and storied career there. This is a good trade for Boston, and a dumb trade for Houston. If you have a relief arm that contenders want, go out and get a real prospect with a high ceiling. Or maybe this was the best of several offers, dunno.

    Comment by hernandez17 — December 15, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  64. I’m reasonably confident that Wilton Lopez will get first crack due to his experience, though I suspect his contact rates may be a bit high (and strikeout rates a bit low) for him to succeed in that role long-term. I love Lopez as a set-up guy though, as his combo of pinpoint control and sinking action fits that role perfectly. I suspect that Lyon will be dealt if he shows any signs whatsoever of being healthy in the spring with the Astros eating most of his contract.

    Comment by reillocity — December 15, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

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