Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie (4) hits a home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Cardinals 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox made a few trades this off-season in order to shore up their bullpen, rearrange some money, and get Mike Aviles in a position to be the team's starting shortstop. While it's too early to see how some of the parts coming back to Boston will do* -- Mark Melancon's chance to make up for his poor start hasn't come yet, and Andrew Bailey is at home cursing Alex Pressly's body for ruining his thumb -- we can take a look and see how a few old friends are doing in their new homes.
*While Ryan Sweeney has a 900 OPS for Boston is absolutely the right time for this exercise.
Jed Lowrie, SS: Lowrie is hitting .301/.387/.473 with a 139 OPS+ and 860 OPS in his first 24 games and 106 plate appearances. That's not a huge surprise, as Lowrie has always been able to hit while he's healthy. It's not a breakout for him, by any means, as he had the same OPS+ in his abbreviated 197 PA 2010 campaign, and the Legend of Jed Lowrie was born in the midst of a 110 PA streak through May 9 of 2011, when his OPS was actually better than it is now at 868.
We knew Lowrie was going to hit, especially off in a weaker division and league. The question, as it's always been, is whether or not he'll stay healthy. Red Sox fans know better than anyone that a few weeks of games won't tell you how Lowrie is going to hold up in the long run. And if Melancon comes back to stabilize the bullpen during his five years of team control, no one is going to mind that the Astros won on a lottery ticket the Red Sox just couldn't seem to. Of course, it helps that there isn't a hole at short right now in Boston. There would be far more outcry over this deal had the Red Sox ended up with another Julio Lugo or similar disaster in the spot.
Kyle Weiland, P: The other portion of the Melancon trade, Kyle Weiland, surprisingly is the one who ended up hurt for Houston. He is dealing with an infection in his shoulder, and requires shoulder surgery. The infection needs to lessen before doctors can go in and clean up, though, meaning Weiland is in line to miss quite a bit of the 2012 season.
When he was on the mound, things weren't going so well for the 25-year-old right-hander. In 17-2/3 innings over three starts, Weiland had a 6.62 ERA and 6.34 FIP, thanks to five homers allowed and 3.6 walks per nine. It's early, but it looks like he's still on track to be a reliever, especially once the Astros get to the American League West in 2013.
Marco Scutaro, IF: The Scutaro trade caused the most noise of any of Boston's deals, as questions about just who was going to play shortstop were drowned out only by cries wondering why Clayton Mortensen and a salary dump were all Boston was able to get in return. The play of Mike Aviles has helped to calm the masses, as has Clayton Mortensen's surprisingly strong start to his Red Sox career, but a look at Scutaro's line should help even further.
The once-again second baseman is hitting .261/.307/.319 for the Rockies, good for an OPS+ of 62 -- it's a bad line that's coming in a park where bad lines aren't supposed to exist. He'll likely rebound, as the season is young, but the deeper we get into the season, the more likely it is Aviles outplays the man he replaced.
Josh Reddick, OF: Reddick and Sweeney couldn't be any more different at the plate. Sweeney is a patient hitter who has shown singles and doubles power, while Reddick fouls off pitches until he finds one he can either swing through or send into the stratosphere. Reddick is hitting .264/.315/.479, a line that doesn't look that impressive until you remember where he's doing it. Since he's in Oakland, at that pitcher's palace, his OPS+ is 120.
He's gone deep four times, and has a higher OPS despite playing in Oakland than he did with Boston last year. His defense has already made the highlight films multiple times this year thanks to his ridiculous arm. Over 409 plate appearances in 117 games since 2011 began, Reddick has a 112 OPS+ with quality defense to complement it. He's a good player, but at least the Sox got Sweeney back in the deal, and eventually we'll get to see what Andrew Bailey is capable of when he returns.