The Boston Red Sox were acutely aware that they needed a closer this offseason. Their long-time closer left for the Phillies for over $50 million, and they weren't really interested in paying a closer that much. Especially when the pitcher who received that contract was the same one who blew two saves against the Baltimore Orioles in September to get the Red Sox out of the playoffs. Overpaying for a closer is overpaying for a perfection that a closer will never guarantee.
But the Red Sox needed someone to collect saves with a designated title of closer. I think it's in the new CBA. As such, they traded for one of the last few pieces that the Houston Astros had left, closer Mark Melancon. From Ken Rosenthal:
Source: Lowrie, Weiland from #RedSox to #Astros for Melancon.
Melancon is a 26-year-old right-hander who just completed his first full season in the majors. He had 20 saves in 74 innings, striking out 66 while walking 26 and allowing five home runs. He's two years away from arbitration, which will save the Red Sox about $30 million at least when compared to signing someone like Ryan Madson.
For that privilege, the Red Sox gave up shortstop Jed Lowrie and right-handed pitcher Kyle Weiland. Lowrie is an oft-injured player with a career .252/.324/.408 line in 808 career at-bats, but he's always had offensive potential if he could remain healthy. With Clint Barmes leaving, the Astros were down to Angel Sanchez and Wladimir Sutil on the organizational depth chart, so Lowrie should be plugged into the lineup right away.
Weiland made spot starts for the Red Sox last September with disastrous results, but the 25-year-old had decent peripherals in the minors, and he projects as a back-of-the-rotation pitcher. Here's where I'd normally make fun of a bad team's rotation, but the Astros actually have four worthwhile starting pitchers on their roster. Weiland will likely compete for the last spot in the rotation, possibly with J.A. Happ, unless Wandy Rodriguez is traded.