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Closer found? Red Sox get Mark Melancon from Astros for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland

Dec 14, 2011, 11:52 AM EDT

Mark Melancon

Boston may still add a veteran closer to replace Jonathan Papelbon, but in the meantime they’ve picked up a potential ninth-inning option in right-hander Mark Melancon, who saved 20 games for the Astros this year.

Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Red Sox are sending infielder Jed Lowrie and pitching prospect Kyle Weiland to the Astros for Melancon, who logged 74 innings with a 2.78 ERA and 66/26 K/BB ratio at age 26 and is under team control through 2016.

Injuries and prolonged slumps have been the story of Lowrie’s career so far and despite showing flashes of a strong bat he’s 27 years old with a modest .252 batting average and .742 OPS. He’s also yet to play even 90 games in a season and there are some doubts about if he can handle being an everyday shortstop defensively, but the Astros need infield help and Lowrie has shown signs of being an impact player. He was expendable in Boston because of Marco Scutaro and slick-fielding shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias.

Weiland was the Red Sox’s third-round pick in 2008 and struggled in his big-league debut, but posted solid numbers in the minors and looks capable of developing into a mid-rotation starter.

Melancon is good and cheap and under team control for years to come, so acquiring him beats paying a premium for a “proven closer” like Francisco Cordero or giving up top prospects for Andrew Bailey, but he’s also a year removed from being at Triple-A and the Lowrie-Weiland haul in a good one for Houston.

  1. skeleteeth - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    But this guy has no neck……?

    • shawnuel - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

      In fact, it’s Richie Cunningham with no neck!

      • Marc - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        you guys act like he’s Mike Fetters, its just a crappy picture

      • cur68 - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:08 PM

        That’s it! Richie Cunningham! I knew the guy looked like someone famous and couldn’t come up with it. Props to Shawnuel: saved me from a day long internal debate.

        Little Richie Cunninhham…all growed up and playing in the MLB, shucks do I feel old…is he bald like the real Richie, too?

    • missthemexpos - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Is the real Richie Cunningham really bald? Hard to tell because every time I have seen him the last few years he is always wearing a cap.

      • cur68 - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        Is he bald? The guy could qualify as Craig’s muse when it comes to hair style. Another man who should never threaten to eat his hat, right thur.

  2. Marc - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    You’ve still got to think the Red Sox will spend on the bullpen. Madson doesn’t really have anywhere else to go (meaning there’s no other team with money to spend that doesn’t have a closer). I’m sure the Sox realize this, and this trade gives them leverage in negotiations. Meanwhile they pick up a real big league arm for two guys that are expendable. Good deal on two fronts.

    • fatass5 - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      Why would the red soxs trust Madson when his own didnt

      • uyf1950 - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        I don’t think it was a matter that the Phillies didn’t trust Madson to close games. Personally I think it became a bumble *uck after they “in theory” offered him 4yrs/$11MM per with a 5th year option. After that screw up the Phillies had to look elsewhere and Papelbon was the obvious choice. Madson is at least as good a Bell who just signed with the Marlins 3yrs/$27MM I believe. The Red Sox could still probably land Madson for say $8MM per for 3 years and he would be worth it, in my opinion.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:19 PM

      The Angels are all in and had a terrible time closing out games last year. I don’t see him ending up anywhere but there.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      Just looked it up. 14 blown saves for the Angels last season. 10 for Walden and 4 for Rodney. Something tells me they’re quietly begging Madson to join their team.

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Excellent trade for Houston. They could really use the SS/2B depth that Lowrie provides, and Weiland is worth taking a flyer on for them. I think Boston loses this one a little.

  4. Ben - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Don’t really like this one for the Sox. Only thing Melancon has going for him is team control. His K/9 this year slid without a corresponding drop in BB/9. Maybe he’ll break out, he’s still young, but he’s nothing special.

  5. uyf1950 - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    I have a hard time believing that the Red Sox are going to enter the 2012 season with Mark Melancon as their closer of record. With all of 112 innings of MLB experience almost all of it with the Astros in the NL Central division. You have to think this is a move for the bullpen and not a closer. Madson still looks like the most likely candidate to close games for the Red Sox.

    • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:45 PM

      The chokers score another mediocre player. LMAO

      • sandpiperair - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        You’re an idiot.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:55 PM

        That would still make me smarter than you.

    • baseballisboring - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      You’re why people hate Yankees fans. Really, it’s you. I see plenty of reasonable, intelligent Yankees fans on here. You are definitely not one of them.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:36 PM

        By contrast, I see very view reasonable, intellligent Red Sox fans, here or elsewhere. Looks like the Yankees win this contest as well.

  6. joshftw - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Oh please let Melancon be their closer! I’d love to see Boston blow a ton of 9th-inning leads.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      You realize that the difference between an elite closer and a so-so closer is like 2 or 3 BS a year? And you still win some of those?

      • joshftw - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:48 PM

        Melancon was a so-so closer in the NL Central. Im eager to see how he fares in the AL East.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:56 PM

        The Yankees gave up on him. Nuff said.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:07 PM

        NL Central had some pretty good offenses in it, no? For a pitcher who doesn’t have to face the Red Sox (and didn’t get to face the Astros), it’s not a huge drop off. If he was going to the Orioles, I might agree.

      • baseballisboring - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:34 PM

        2.78 ERA. And he was traded, not released or something. Nuff said.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:38 PM

        They traded him because he had shown that he couldn’t pitch in the AL East. That is “giving up on him”. Notice that the Yankees have been holding onto their prized prospects as of late…and only trading away the ones that they don’t really want to be a part of their future. Melancon wasn’t any part of their future. They gave up on him. The end.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:40 PM

        18thstreet – Dec 14, 2011 at 3:07 PM
        NL Central had some pretty good offenses in it, no? For a pitcher who doesn’t have to face the Red Sox (and didn’t get to face the Astros), it’s not a huge drop off. If he was going to the Orioles, I might agree.

        The rest of the AL East is going to tattoo him. The Angels as well (guess what, he still has to face Pujols). Add Texas to the mix and he is in for a lot harder time than he had in the NL.

  7. homelanddefense - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    As a Red Sox fan its not what I was hoping for as a closer. Although they could still sign or trade for a different one, and use this guy as a set up since Bard will be a starter this year.

    As for what they gave up, good riddance. Lowrie ALWAYS gets hurt. He cant even stay healthy as a backup infielder, I can only imagine how quickly he would get hurt if he played every day. And Weiland is a middle to back of the organization prospect.

    • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:44 PM

      Most of your farm system is garbage So no surprise that Weiland isn’t all that. I hear that he can sing a little though.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        Granted, you’re the expert, but most other experts consider it an above-average system.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:58 PM

        Last I saw, their farm system was ranked in the middle of the pack, while the Yankees farm system is top five in most any of the current rankings. Your organization gutted their farm system while Cashman held onto the Yankees’ top prospects. Take your lumps, Ari.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM

        Are they middle of the pack, or is it garbage? Because it can’t be both.

        Wait, why am I arguing with this guy?

      • baseballisboring - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:35 PM

        It’s a nowhere road, 18thstreet. It’s very tempting but I don’t know why I ever try to either.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:34 PM


      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:41 PM

        The line where garbage farm systems starts IS in the middle of the pack. So, yes, it CAN be both (and it is).

    • evanwins - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:56 PM

      Your team is somehow out of money. They either don’t have it or are unwilling to go over the cap. Every move they have made this off season points to them reducing payroll. Don’t be surprised if. You see more shedding of Players…maybe top ones too.

  8. mentalotherhalf - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Melancon’s a former Yankee. May the statistical anomaly gods thwart him from closing out even a single game against his former team; I hate when that happens.

    • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      Yet another Yankee reject on the Boston roster. LOL

      • Ari Collins - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        If by “reject” you mean, “traded in a midseason deal for an area of need,” then yes. In that case, other Yankee rejects include WS MVP Mike Lowell.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Lowell was traded in the OFFSEASON to the Marlins, so he doesn’t fit that description.

      • baseballisboring - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM

        not the point you moron.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:43 PM

        Neither was the stupid comment about him being traded in midseason for an area of need” a relevant point…yet you fail to realize or criticize this. Your boy got caught in a lie…so let him takes his lumps.

    • joshftw - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:58 PM

      To be fair, they did exile him to Houston. I’d want some payback for that.

  9. hk62 - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    MM is a contact closer, not a swing and miss guy – so defense matters. HOU has guys with more gas and or better out pitches to vie for the role in 2012. MM does get outs though – since he does K a ton of hitters, might need to move to set up at some point, but he is pretty fearless as a reliever – so both teams have the potential for this being a good trade. HOU gets a SS (hopefully) and a potential starter that can bring it past 91 mph (that makes 2 for now) and BOS gets a good, maybe very good reliever who’s been in the ALE before.

    Probably not an ideal closer for BOS though.

  10. deathmonkey41 - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Melacon will be fine- he just needs to get one of those magnetic necklaces from Josh Beckett.

  11. bigleagues - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    I like Lowrie a lot and it frustrates me he wasn’t able to stay healthy. If healthy he is capable of a “where the hell did he come” type season – especially in the NL (at least for the next season or two).

    Weiland is at best a BACK of the rotation option or middle relief.

    That said, Craig . . . the Red Sox pulled a coup here . . . especially if Bard ends up in the rotation. Melancon still has high upside. And nothing would be greater than watching him close out games against the Yankees.

    • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:55 PM

      Keep hoping that the Yankee rejects work out for you guys. LMAO

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:10 PM

        Aceves worked out nicely for the Sox last year

      • homelanddefense - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:41 PM

        I dont know why anyone even responds to bozo anymore…

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:45 PM

        Because you losers can’t help yourselves. And you can’t help but try to cover up the fact that I’m right about many things…so you try and use the lame “Thumbs Down” button to discredit the facts. Doesn’t really work and it just makes you all look desperate.

      • bigleagues - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:44 PM

        Being right about factoids that exist only within your own reality doesn’t count.

        No matter what the content of your response happens to be, you are often good for a laugh. However, even the best comedians eventually want to be taken more seriously.

        In the meantime, I hope everything is OK at Home. If not, and you need someone to talk with, were all here to help. Most of us are fairy adept at doling out 2nd hand professional advice.

      • cur68 - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:34 AM

        Hey I did my bit already. The rest of HBT is now up for counseling bozo. I love how he’s like a little dog yapping away, getting disproportionately worked up about the slightest hint of a Yankees diss and never misses a chance to troll away at the Sox fans. Most fun I’ve had on here in some time. Be gentle with him lads. He’s a conflicted soul, po lil thang.

      • bozosforall - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:22 PM

        Gotta laugh at you “high and mighties” who live here 24-7. And quite honestly, I couldn’t care less what anyone here thinks of me. None of you pay my bills so your comments are worthless in the grand scheme of things. And trust me, I’m laughing as well. At how seriously you all take yourselves here.

        And the comment about getting worked up about a Yankee diss? Please, child…you losers cry about every single negative Boston comment that is made here. Pot calling the kettle black. Of course, with the blinders on, none of you can see that.

      • bigleagues - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:27 PM


        See, Bozo! Red flag right there in your response.

        You state emphatically that our comments do not matter to you, and yet, beyond the over-emphasis on your part, it’s obvious by your words that you do care A LOT about our responses. Otherwise you’d sit quietly in the corner with the other trolls who chime in from time to time.

        Christmas time can be lonely. Remember don’t be too proud or afraid of the stigma attached to asking for help.

  12. purnellmeagrejr - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    nice analysis by Aaron who deserves credit for not once using he phrase “Win, win” in describin g a trade which does seem to work about evenly for both teams even once in the column. As far as Melancon being a closer – I wouldn’t count on it, but a good reliever is worth having, regardless.

  13. stex52 - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Melancon will log some innings; I see him more as a 7th-8th reliever. He was decent in an unexpected role when Lyon injured himself. You are right; more of a contact-type reliever.

    It’s hard to know where to start with Houston, but SS and middle-starter are two of many weaknesses. Hopefully one or both guys will work out.

  14. Ari Collins - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Where’s the “contact-type reliever” stuff coming from, folks? He’s always been a guy who strikes out a fair amount of batters.

    • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      That was in the NL. In the AL, his strikeout ratio was significantly lower than in the NL.

      • dprat - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:25 PM

        I see, and you’ve come to this conclusion based on a grand total of 20.1 IP in the AL? Well, no doubt about it then.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:46 PM

        Not any less relevant of a conclusion than the idiots that think that he will do just fine in the AL East. At least the stats back what I’m saying.

    • stex52 - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:39 PM

      SO/BB ratio good at 2.5, but he basically had close to one hit and one strikeout per inning. For Houston he would probably be fine in the role for another year. I’d think Boston would like a little better in a closer.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:48 PM

        That’s what I was saying…but hey, if you want to have a mediocre guy closing for you, the Yankees will be more than happy to launch HRs on this guy all season long.

        He is no Papelbon…not even close.

  15. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    A bit disappointed to see Lowrie go. He had a lot of potential but just couldn’t ever stay off the DL for a full year. Best of luck to him in Houston

  16. hammyofdoom - Dec 14, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    You know, I’m sad to see Lowrie go, but honestly the guy can’t stay healthy and had a bit of a stone glove at SS, his real value is in his versatility and the POSSIBILITY of plus offense. He’s already older than I thought he was, and the Sox could afford to trade him. As for Weiland, the sox have quite a few mid/end rotation type pitchers in their farm system, just not any “aces” so he was good for tradebait as well. Young pitcher, good numbers, team controlled for a long time, me likey.

  17. bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    1943mrmojorisin1971 – Dec 14, 2011 at 3:10 PM
    Aceves worked out nicely for the Sox last year

    Not for the bump in pay that the Red Sox gave him. And if he ends up being a regular in the rotation, watch for him to decline from last year’s numbers.

    • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:54 PM

      And also not for what he is going to get in salary arbitration this year. LMAO

  18. bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    According to a major league source, the Red Sox expect to exceed the $178 million payroll threshold that would trigger luxury tax payments for the 2012 season.

    • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:58 PM

      Included in that is the fact that their players who are arbitration-eligible will cost them significantly more…for basically the same production.

      Ellsbury’s salary will likely triple…from 2.4 mil to around 8 mil
      Saltalamacchia’s salary will triple as well…to over 2 mil
      Aceves, Aviles, Bard and Morales will also see significant raises in their salaries.

      All for basically the same production or less.


  19. thamel37 - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    Bozosforall= way to much time on your hands!
    Can anyone have an opinion that is different than yours? Seriously, does it bug you that much if someone says something you might not agree with? Can’t believe you have so much time to dedicate to replying to everyones comments…I feel bad for you.

    • bozosforall - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:18 PM

      Everyone can have an opinion that is different than mine. That is what message boards are for. But if you post it, expect for it to be taken apart if it isn’t well formulated. That’s life, little boi.

      And as for “so much time”, I pop in and pop out throughout the day, working in between. Sorry that you aren’t set up to do the same but that’s also life.

      I feel bad for you…must be tough to be as slow-witted as you.

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