Red Sox acquire Mark Melancon and Nick Punto

Newly acquired RP Mark Melancon

The Boston Red Sox traded Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland to the Houston Astros for relief pitcher Mark Melancon. Melancon, 26, posted a 2.78 ERA (3.25 FIP) while recording 20 saves (80% success rate) in 74.1 innings.

Jed Lowrie had fallen out of favor with the front office with his ‘soft’ mentality and propensity for injury. Lowrie averaged just 58 games over the past three seasons. Lowrie was known for having a very streaky bat. He started the 2011 season on fire; he had a .962 OPS in the month of April. However that number declined over the season to a less-than-stellar .685. The most valuable attribute Lowrie provides is his ability to crush left handed pitching, against which he hit .330/.353/.523 last year.

Weiland, an esteemed prospect in the organization, struggled in minimal playing time in the major leagues last year. He could grade out to be a back end starter, or a solid reliever.

The Red Sox also signed infielder Nick Punto yesterday to a a 2 year/$3 million deal. Punto can play second base, third base and shortstop. His defense is an upgrade from Jed Lowrie’s, though he leaves much to be desired with the bat as evidenced by his career 76 OPS+. Punto’s greatest asset may be his intangibles as he is regarded as a great clubhouse presence. Nick won a World Series with St. Louis last season and GM Ben Cherington said he is  “a guy who understands his role on a winning team.”

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