Thursday, April 30, 2015

Revisiting the December 2011 Mark Melancon Trade

This is the first in a series looking back at the trades made by Jeff Luhnow since he became the General Manager of the Astros in December 2011.

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On December 14, 2011, brand new General Manager Jeff Luhnow traded RHP Mark Melancon to the Red Sox in exchange for SS Jed Lowrie and RHP Kyle Weiland.

Melancon spent one season for the Red Sox in 2012, putting up a 6.20 ERA, a 1.267 WHIP and a negative WAR of -0.5 in 45 appearances over 41 innings at the major league level. In the minors that season, Melancon had a 0.83 ERA and a 0.831 WHIP in 21 appearances over 21.2 innings.

Melancon was then traded by the Red Sox to the Pirates in December 2012. He flourished with the Pirates in 2013 (1.39 ERA and 0.958 WHIP in 72 appearances; 2.1 WAR; All-Star appearance) and in 2014 (1.90 ERA and 0.873 WHIP in 72 appearances; 2.0 WAR).

Jed Lowrie played in 97 games for the Astros in 2012, hitting .244/.331/.438 with 18 doubles, 16 home runs, 42 RBI, 43 walks and 65 strikeouts. He had a 2.2 WAR (2.4 oWar and 0.2 dWar). Lowrie was then traded to Oakland, along with RHP Fernando Rodriguez, for 1B Chris Carter, RHP Brad Peacock and C Max Stassi. (I'll look at this trade in-depth in due course.)

Kyle Weiland, on the other hand, only pitched in 3 games for Houston at the major league level before heading to the DL. In 17.2 innings, he had a 6.62 ERA, a 1.755 WHIP and a negative WAR of -0.2. Weiland did not make another official appearance until the summer of 2014, pitching in 14 minor league games between June and August. Weiland recently retired.

Although it would have been nice to have had the 2013 and 2014 version of Mark Melancon in the Houston bullpen to offset some of the struggles from those two years, and despite the disappointment of never having a completely healthy Weiland, there is really no way to see this trade as anything but a win for Luhnow after considering Lowrie's 2012 contributions and the return received after trading him.

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