The Red Sox acquired reliever Mark Melancon from the Astros for shortstop Jed Lowrie and starter Kyle Weiland, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick first tweeted that Weiland was traded to Houston in a deal that involved a reliever going to Boston. The deal marks the first trade involving Major Leaguers by both Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and Red Sox GM Ben Cherington since taking over their respective roles.
Melancon, 26, turned in a 2.78 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9, and 56.7% groundball rate in 74 1/3 innings this year, saving 20 games in 25 tries. The right-hander won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season and won't hit free agency until after the 2016 campaign. Acquiring Melancon will bolster Boston's bullpen, but they're unlikely to stop here, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Boston has reportedly been after A's closer Andrew Bailey and Rosenthal says that they can't be ruled out on Ryan Madson.
Lowrie has been drawing a good deal interest from clubs this offseason. The infielder's name also came up during the Winter Meetings when the Red Sox met with the Rangers and discussed possible trades. In 341 plate appearances for Boston last season, the oft-injured Lowrie hit .252/.303/.382 with six homers. Lowrie has been used all around the infield, but he's likely to take over as the Astros' starting shortstop. He's arbitration eligible for the first time this winter and MLBTR projects a $1.2MM salary.
Weiland, 25, struggled in 24 2/3 innings in his Red Sox debut this year. At Triple-A, he posted a 3.58 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, and 0.70 HR/9 in 128 1/3 innings. A third-round pick in 2008, Baseball America ranked Weiland 20th among Red Sox prospects prior to the season. BA says the former Notre Dame closer "relishes pitching inside" and his "best pitch is a low-90s fastball that peaks at 95 but is most notable for its hard sink." The Astros plan to use Weiland as a starter in 2012, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
The Astros will have to clear a spot on their 40-man roster, as it was full prior to the trade.