It's not surprising that Lowrie's on the move. His name had been linked to multiple trade rumors and the Red Sox badly need relief help. Obtaining a quality young arm such as Melancon is the first of what figures to be multiple bullpen additions.
Over four injury-plagued seasons with Boston, Lowrie enjoyed no finer stretch than the first two months of 2011, over which he hit .318 and temporarily took the starting shortstop job away from Marco Scutaro.
Lowrie's departure does not mean much for the future of Jose Iglesias, 21, who would stand to benefit from another full season at Triple-A Pawtucket. Scutaro, however, is now indisputably atop the shortstop depth chart. Boston exercised its $6 million option on him earlier this offseason.
Weiland, 25, struggled during his brief stint with Boston, making seven appearances in 2011—including five starts—recording a 7.66 ERA and 1.66 WHIP over 24.2 innings. Weiland had pitched well at Pawtucket prior to his call-up, posting a 3.58 ERA, 8.8 SO/9, 3.9 BB/9 and 0.70 HR/9 over 128.1 innings.
The Astros are set to have Weiland in their starting rotation, tweets WEEI's Alex Speier.
Melancon, 26, is a promising young addition to a lean Boston bullpen. He'll be under team control the next four seasons.
Melancon enjoyed a breakout season in 2011, emerging as Houston's closer after former Red Sox Brandon Lyon struggled out of the gate. He finished the year with a 2.78 ERA, 8.0 SO/9 and 3.1 BB/9 over 71 appearances, finishing 47 games. He went 20 for 25 in save opportunities.In spite of Melancon's title in Houston, it's hard to imagine the closing situation in Boston is fully sorted out. Daniel Bard remains an option, although it appears likely he will indeed be heading to the starting rotation, per Bobby Valentine's comments on Monday. Regardless, there's still a long way to go toward filling out the 'pen. The offseason is still young, though.
It's a safe bet that GM Ben Cherington still has eyes for free agent Ryan Madson or the A's' Andrew Bailey.
In acquiring Melancon, however, one major step toward improvement has been made.