It's sad to see Jed Lowrie go having never really reached his potential in Boston. Hopefully the National League is kinder to him and he's able to avoid spider bites, the Panamanian Horse Flu, chicken attacks, hot tea, paper cuts, and the oft overlooked but still moderately dangerous merry-go-round.
It took some time but yesterday GM Ben Cherington made his first trade and free agent signing. Of course we covered the [deleted by network] out of it here at OTM. Some other sites were on top of the news as well. R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus wrote up the trade of Jed Lowrie for Mark Melancon, as did WEEI.com's Alex Speier, and Brian MacPherson at the Providence Journal. Melancon is an intriguing guy. He's young, cheap, and strikes guys out (66 in 74.1 innings last season). He does walk batters a bit, but 6 of his 26 walks last season were intentional. That drops his walk rate from 3 BB/9 to 2.4. Even so, he probably isn't the end of the pen option the Red Sox are looking for. With Andrew Baily and Ryan Madson still out there, you're going to hear stories about Boston kicking their tires. One of those two may show up here at some point, but Melancon looks like a good start. The Ben Cherington Era has begun.
Fan Graphs temporarily became Red Sox Fan Graphs yesterday, as five of their seven most recently written articles all had to do with the Boston nine. To wit: Steve Slowinski covered the Nick Punto signing, Jack Moore looked at why the Red Sox could afford to deal Jed Lowrie (read: Marco Scutaro), then some crap about the Diamondbacks, then an article about Jason Varitek (for serious) by Matt Klaassen, Mike Axisa covers the Lowrie and Weiland for Melancon deal, and finally Tommy Rancel devotes 600 words to the miracle that is the return of Kelly Shoppach.
Speaking of Fan Graphs, the most recent of the continually excellent Fan Graphs Audio series actually mentions little old me. Yes, that's right, at the beginning of the podcast, Carson Cistulli and his guest, Sam Miller, talk Matt Kory. For like four seconds. I had to listen to it twice to believe it, but now I'm the biggest celebrity in my own head.
Bill at The Platoon Advantage has an informative read on why mult-year contracts are structured they way they are.
The posting for Yu Darvish has been completed and although we don't know the winner at the time of this writing, we are pretty sure the Red Sox sat this one out. Just in case though, Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball has this excellent piece on the posting system.
Over at Fire Brand, Chip Buck picks up my flag about why the Red Sox aren't in on big free agents this year (read: luxury tax) and runs with it. Mr. Buck shows exactly what current Red Sox players cost, where the team is financially, and what adding specific free agents would likely cost next year and beyond. Stories like Mr. Buck's should hopefully serve to head off stories like this (Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot calling the Red Sox cheap).
Finally, one final plug before I let this die, if you are looking for a Red Sox related gift for a loved one or even someone you mildly loath, check out the The Official Over The Monster Annual Holiday Gift Giving Gift Guide To Official Annual Holiday Gift Giving. See if you can spot what I'm getting for Marc Normandin (hint: Red Sox toilet paper!).