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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Report: Sox trade Lowrie, Weiland for Melancon

Looks like a bit of an overpay to me…

The Red Sox have traded infielder Jed Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland to Houston for reliever Mark Melancon, according to a report by FoxSports.com.

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:28 PM | 55 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, red sox

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   1. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:35 PM (#4016310)
(Shrug)
   2. Dale Sams Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#4016313)
Lowrie provided almost twice as much WAR in 55 games of 2010, then Mark did all last year. Sox just bought high on the Yanks 9th round 2006 pick based on one year of success. Regardless of Lowrie's inablity to stay on the field, Sox still need another utility-man in addition to Aviles right?

I hate trading postion players for relievers.
   3. karlmagnus Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:37 PM (#4016314)
Lowrie for a reliever. Yuck! I'm beginning to long for the good old days of Theo.
   4. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:47 PM (#4016322)
I like the pickup. Melancon is much more likely to help the 2012/2013 Red Sox more than either of those guys was.
   5.  Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#4016326)
May he come with infinite sadness
   6. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#4016328)
Wasn't Lowrie supposed to be the Next Big Thing? Or was that several years ago by now.
   7. Steve N Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#4016329)
Lowrie is what, 29? I think that the chances of him being productive going forward are pretty marginal.
   8. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#4016331)
I don't really have a problem with the pickup - but why Lowrie *and* Weiland?

There's some speculation that Cherington is under orders to reduce the payroll to a point where the Red Sox don't have to worry about the luxury tax.

-- MWE
   9. Dock Ellis Posted: December 14, 2011 at 05:50 PM (#4016332)
Melancon is stupid cheap, at least. Just one year of service time. And it will be fun if he ends up pretty good, since the Yankees traded him for Lance Berkman.
   10. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:00 PM (#4016340)
There's some speculation that Cherington is under orders to reduce the payroll to a point where the Red Sox don't have to worry about the luxury tax.

Lowrie made $450,000 in '11. Scuturo was rumored going, couple days back which fit that thinking.
   11. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:06 PM (#4016349)
Lowrie made $450,000 in '11. Scuturo was rumored going couple days back which fit that thinking.


Lowrie's arbitration-eligible, which normally means a healthy bump. Granted it's nothing like Scutaro's salary, but I can't imagine that the Sox found any takers for Marco at $6M.

Again, it's speculation, though. Lucchino danced around the topic when asked the other day.

-- MWE
   12. ColonelTom Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:06 PM (#4016351)
Right, but if they plan to use Melancon to close, they won't sign an expensive FA like Ryan Madson to replace Papelbon.
   13. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:15 PM (#4016358)
Two players for a fairly random bullpen arm? Strange.
   14. tfbg9 Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:18 PM (#4016363)
Your 2012 AL Comeback Player of the Year: Bobby Pornbeard Jenks!
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:20 PM (#4016367)
Lowrie's arbitration-eligible, which normally means a healthy bump.
For a guy with no more than 350 PA in a season? I figured $1.5M was the absolute max.
   16. Dale Sams Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#4016369)
Your 2012 AL Comeback Player of the Year: Bobby Pornbeard Jenks!


Your AL Candidate for a mini-stroke or Smallpox: Bobby Pornbeard Jenks!
   17. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#4016370)
Again, it's speculation, though. Lucchino danced around the topic when asked the other day.

Yes, read that. They're quite close to cap, going to be interesting to see what they do to add talent.
   18. Textbook Editor Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#4016374)
Yeah, not sure why you'd have to throw in Weiland. I can't imagine Lowrie would have gotten more than ~$1 million or so, even with arbitration; Weiland would have earned MLM, right, the same as Melancon? So you maybe save about $1 million with this move + clear a spot on the 40-man, I guess (they were at 39, I think, but with Dice-K and Lackey guaranteed to move to the 60-day DL by the start of the season, it's not like they had a tremendous logjam problem there).

I'll miss the double earflap. This does seem like selling low, unless their scouts think Melancon's the second coming or something.
   19. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:34 PM (#4016388)
I can't imagine that the Sox found any takers for Marco at $6M.


Why? His downside is being about average. It's a 1 year deal at below market value, not requiring long term commitment. And SS is pretty thin right now.

I'm not saying they should be expecting some massive haul in return, but that's an eminently tradable asset, if they just want to shed the money.
   20. Danny Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:40 PM (#4016396)
I don't know much about Weiland, but ZIPS projects him for a 5.43 ERA (81 ERA+) as a 25 year old. ZIPS has Lowrie at an 89 OPS+ as a 28 year old.

Melancon was very good last year after learning a cutter. The 6 IBBs hurt his walk rate, but he was otherwise a GB machine with a pretty good K:BB ratio. Seems like a pretty nice haul for the Sox for a couple spare parts.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#4016404)
I would think this makes it more likely that Aceves and/or Bard transitioning to starting becomes a reality.
   22. villageidiom Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:03 PM (#4016416)
Lowrie provided almost twice as much WAR in 55 games of 2010, then Mark did all last year. Sox just bought high on the Yanks 9th round 2006 pick based on one year of success.
Funny.

a) Melancon has had the "one year of success" after developing an effective cutter, something he cites and PitchF/X confirms. That seems less of a reason to assume randomness of his success.

b) You pulled numbers from Lowrie's 2010 because that is his only year of success.

IOW, there's a decent chance they sold high on Lowrie, and bought low on Melancon.

I'm with you in that I don't generally like position player for reliever trades. But, realistically, what is an appropriate return for Lowrie? He's never healthy. A consequence of that is that he'll probably have to be moved off SS, in which case the potency of his bat is less relevant. And he's had one good year, in four, with the bat. The Red Sox aren't trading 55 specific games of Lowrie in 2010, they're trading whatever he'll produce in 2012-14, and the odds are that it's not much. A return of Melancon seems actually a bit high to me - which might explain the inclusion of Weiland - but IANAGM.
   23. ColonelTom Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:12 PM (#4016424)
I like the deal for both teams.

For Boston, Melancon's a cheap, cost-controlled option at the back of the bullpen, and last year looked like a breakout season with the new cutter. At worst, he'll be a solid 8th-inning guy. They don't lose anything they'll miss - Lowrie's too much of an injury risk to rely upon if you're a contender, which is why they brought Scutaro back. If Lowrie's on the bench, he's eminently replaceable. Weiland was probably ticketed for AAA or a long-relief role at most in the near term.

Houston's looking for upside, not certainty. Lowrie is a massive upgrade talent-wise on their current options at SS, and even after arbitration, he's significantly cheaper than the departed Cliff Barmes. He also could be trade bait if Jonathan Villar pans out. Weiland has a chance to be a back-end starter or quality reliever. Who knows, maybe he'll be the next Mark Melancon.

Win-win.
   24. TerpNats Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#4016427)
Good deal for the Astros, who need all the personnel they can get.
   25. Textbook Editor Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:21 PM (#4016436)
Lowrie was the last out in the 2008 ALCS, right? I remember thinking if he had hit a HR right there he'd never have to buy a beer in Boston again...
   26. Dale Sams Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:22 PM (#4016441)
Surrrrre he wouldn't. They say that about all the Boston players.
   27. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:26 PM (#4016443)
Lowrie was the last out in the 2008 ALCS, right?


Walk off hit to win the ALDS that year, then final out of the ALCS. Jed was in the middle of it.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:42 PM (#4016454)
Surrrrre he wouldn't. They say that about all the Boston players.



For the record, if I'm ever in Boston and I meet one of the 25, I ain't buying him a beer. I appreciate his efforts, but I sure as hell ain't forking over what little cash I have to a guy who made millions.
   29. Dale Sams Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#4016461)
For the record, if I'm ever in Boston and I meet one of the 25, I ain't buying him a beer. I appreciate his efforts, but I sure as hell ain't forking over what little cash I have to a guy who made millions.


Mirabelli is selling houses for God's sake! Have pity man!!
   30. Ray (CTL) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:53 PM (#4016465)
It will be hard to get burned by trading Jed Lowrie (_and_ Weiland?), but I still don't like the deal. You don't need to give up anything to get generic Good Relievers.

Lowrie is a useful player because he can play second, third, and short, he can start for a stretch or fill in off the bench, he is _capable_ of hitting well for a utility infielder as he showed in 2010, etc. Does that outweigh the value Melancon may provide? Probably not, but I think Melancon is a bit easier to find.

I certainly don't see why they needed to include _two_ players in the deal.

The deal is probably a wash, so I can't criticize it much.
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: December 14, 2011 at 07:55 PM (#4016466)
For the record, if I'm ever in Boston and I meet one of the 25, I ain't buying him a beer. I appreciate his efforts, but I sure as hell ain't forking over what little cash I have to a guy who made millions.


I think buying him a beer would increase the chances of him sitting down with you and telling insider tales about the glory days.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:09 PM (#4016477)
I think buying him a beer would increase the chances of him sitting down with you and telling insider tales about the glory days.

I would hope all the guys who made real money would turn down your offer, and pay themselves.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:13 PM (#4016484)
I certainly don't see why they needed to include _two_ players in the deal.


I assume that's the kind of deal Houston was looking for because they need depth at this point. They probably wouldn't do a 1-for-1...
   34. Ray (CTL) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:15 PM (#4016486)
I assume that's the kind of deal Houston was looking for because they need depth at this point. They probably wouldn't do a 1-for-1...


In which case, the Red Sox should have told them they wouldn't do a 2-1.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:21 PM (#4016491)
In which case, the Red Sox should have told them they wouldn't do a 2-1.

Then the Reds Sox don't get the player they wanted. There was no pressure to trade Melancon; he makes league minimum.
   36. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:34 PM (#4016499)
So teams are stupid for overpaying for FA relievers.

Teams are stupid for trading oft-injured middle infielders for relievers.

How pray tell are they supposed to get relievers if they don't have any in their system?
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:38 PM (#4016503)
It's just not clear to me that Melancon is all that good. His numbers are fine, nothing special, and he was not good the year before that. (Pretty good in 08-09, but it's hard to give too much credit to a good minor league reliever.) If Melancon is a plus reliever, then fine, got a cheap, good pitcher. It seems much more likely to me that he's pretty close to league average, and the Sox just gave away way more upside than they got back.

Ray's right that by far the most likely outcome is that this is just a "meh" trade, so there isn't much reason to get exercised about it. I do think, though, that almost all the tail risk is being borne by the Sox.
   38. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:47 PM (#4016516)
But Mikael, "fine" (and I think that undersells him a bit) is an upgrade for the Sox. They got this upgrade at no expense that I can see. Weiland is a guy who if he pans out probably becomes Melancon and Lowrie, well I've said my piece on him at this point. I think it's hard to deny that the Sox bullpen is better than it was when my alarm clock went off today.

Relievers are funky so something weird could happen but he's cheap, he's young and while not long, his track record is pretty good.

But screw that, MLBTR says the Sox just signed Nick Punto. All is well!
   39. Ray (CTL) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:49 PM (#4016518)
How pray tell are they supposed to get relievers if they don't have any in their system?


Go to their nearest tree and pick up the ones that are falling off.

Seriously, good relievers are easy to find. They're easy to make. They're just live arms, generally with good K rates and the ability to control their walks at least to an acceptable level. You have them in your farm system; you make them from starters; you sign them as free agents; you trade nothing for them BEFORE they have their "breakout" Melancon Year.

It's the Riveras and Papelbons that are hard to find. Good relievers are far easier to find, and if you have a reliever with above-average peripherals, the small sample of innings he pitches will lead to a 100-150 ERA+ for the year, which is just fine.
   40. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:55 PM (#4016525)
Seriously, good relievers are easy to find. They're easy to make. They're just live arms, generally with good K rates and the ability to control their walks at least to an acceptable level. You have them in your farm system; you make them from starters; you sign them as free agents; you trade nothing for them BEFORE they have their "breakout" Melancon Year.

It's the Riveras and Papelbons that are hard to find. Good relievers are far easier to find, and if you have a reliever with above-average peripherals, the small sample of innings he pitches will lead to a 100-150 ERA+ for the year, which is just fine.


But Ray, if trading Kyle Weiland and Jed Lowrie isn't "going to the nearest tree" what is? The Sox gave up nothing in this trade, nothing at all. There is a chance that Lowrie stays healthy and makes me eat my words but I'm comfortable saying the Sox lost nothing of value here.

EDIT: I'm too dismissive of Weiland. Like I said earlier, he could be a useful part someday but I think that means he could become Mark Melancon. I don't think his upside is much more than that.
   41. Swedish Chef Posted: December 14, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#4016544)
The Sox gave up nothing in this trade, nothing at all.

They gave up a Nick Punto-free roster. Value: invaluable.
   42.  Posted: December 14, 2011 at 09:40 PM (#4016585)

How pray tell are they supposed to get relievers if they don't have any in their system?


Farm system, rule 5, waiver wire, convert a shortstop. There's a million ways.
   43. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 14, 2011 at 09:45 PM (#4016591)
Between Shoppach, Melancon, and Punto, they are in for $3.2m in base salary in 2012, with another $800K in incentives possible. For 2013, they have Punto for $1.5, and Melancon for around $500K. None of this stuff is very costly, and their bench looks a lot better than it did three days ago.

C - Salty, Shoppach
IF - Gonzalez, Pedroia, Scutaro, Youkilis, Aviles, Punto
OF - Crawford, Ellsbury, Reddick, Kalish, McDonald
DH - Ortiz

SP - Beckett, Lester, Buchholz, Bard, somebody we don't have yet; Tazawa is waiting in the wings
RP - Jencks, Melancon, Albers, Aceves, Morales, Wilson/Doubront/somebody we don't have yet

Why are we interested in keeping Dan Wheeler? He was generally excellent after the first month of the year. We declined his option, yes? Could we pick back up?
   44. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 09:45 PM (#4016592)
FWIW, I always like Melancon and thought he deserved more of a shot with the Yankees. That having been said, I can't too much regret giving him up for the Lance Berkman rental.

Incidentally, when he was up with the Yankees, Melancon gave the least comprehensible interview I've ever seen. I think it was mostly nerves, but I've never seen someone interviewed with a worse command of the English language.
   45. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 14, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#4016596)
Why are we interested in keeping Dan Wheeler? He was generally excellent after the first month of the year. We declined his option, yes? Could we pick back up?


The option is gone but we can still sign him. Basically he is a free agent now.
   46. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 10:16 PM (#4016614)
Yea, you can find fungible relievers, but I don't think the Red Sox can spend a month or two determining who is good and who is dreck. You need some guys in the pen who are a pretty reliable bet going forward and Melancon seems to be one of those gus. And they didn't give up anything theyneeded. You don't need two utility IF, Punto signing notwithstanding.
   47.  Posted: December 14, 2011 at 10:31 PM (#4016625)
RElievers are like goalies in hockey. Every year there are like 3 guys guaranteed to be awesome, 3 guys who are guaranteed to suck, and then everything in between is who-the-####-knows.
   48. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 10:34 PM (#4016626)
He also could be trade bait if Jonathan Villar pans out.


(Which he won't.)
   49. The District Attorney Posted: December 14, 2011 at 11:24 PM (#4016656)
May he come with infinite sadness
Don't you mean "sex type thing", or something?
   50. Something Other Posted: December 14, 2011 at 11:55 PM (#4016681)
In which case, the Red Sox should have told them they wouldn't do a 2-1.
That's what she said!

Huh. This and Punto? Quiet offseason for Red Sock GMs.
   51. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: December 15, 2011 at 12:15 AM (#4016705)
IF - Gonzalez, Pedroia, Scutaro, Youkilis, Aviles, Punto

This means that one of Scutaro, Aviles or Punto is in the lineup EVERY DAY. These guys are interchangeable once or twice a week players, and by that I mean that between the three of them, the should only get in 2 games a week. EVERY DAY? Bah!

Edit...and some days, 2 of them will start. DOUBLE BAH!
   52. KJOK Posted: December 15, 2011 at 12:17 AM (#4016706)
Lunhow's first deal looks pretty good. Melancon wouldn't have many leads to protect in Houston while Lowrie will be a starting SS.
   53. a bebop a rebop Posted: December 15, 2011 at 12:27 AM (#4016718)
51: Scutaro's pretty good. If he didn't forget how to defend -- he'll be a 36 year old second basemen and I can't say I paid especially close attention to his 2011, so maybe that's the case -- he's a safe bet to be average or a little above. Nothing to complain about.
   54. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: December 15, 2011 at 12:29 AM (#4016720)
Scutaro was one of their better players last September, but I don't see him having a good season, as a starter. Just don't see it.
   55. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 15, 2011 at 05:48 AM (#4016884)
he'll be a 36 year old second basemen

What happened to Pedroia?

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