About two years ago, the Legend of Jed Lowrie was born. One of the few bright spots in the dismal April of 2011, Lowrie seemed ready to keep his momentum from the second half of 2010 rolling right along, earning a half-joke, half-serious cult following as he saved the Red Sox whenever the rest of the team wasn't screwing up badly enough to make the game a lost cause.
One month later, and the legend began to die. Lowrie lost it, got himself hurt, struggled his way to the offseason, and was promptly flipped to the Houston Astros for Mark Melancon, who proceeded to be terrible in Boston.
In other words, not exactly a shining segment in Red Sox history.
Obviously the Red Sox did not "win" this trade. Mark Melancon is now some small part of Joel Hanrahan, which depending on who you ask is not the most positive development to begin with. And, while Lowrie found himself out for much of the second half of the year, he did give the Astros some decent plate appearances inthe first-half, while Melancon's season as a whole is hard to view as a positive.
Still, with two trades in such short succession, I thought it would be interesting to at least see how Lowrie's value has changed. In other words, how low--or high--did the Sox sell?
Trade 1: Kyle Weiland and Jed Lowrie for Mark Melancon
Now, just to refresh everyone's memory, when the first trade went down, Weiland was coming off of a terrible debut with the Red Sox and Mark Melancon had enjoyed an excellent season in Houston. So we can basically put Lowrie's value at that of a solid middle-innings reliever, maybe even a setup man, albeit without a ton of experience.
Now for the new trade.
Fernando Rodriguez isn't all that difficult to cross out like Weiland. He was awful out of the bullpen last season, even with all those strikeouts, and is basically a sophomore at age 28 besides. Maybe the Coliseum is what he needs, but he wasn't exactly doing much for the Astros either way.
As for who they got back, Chris Carter was once a top-30 prospect (per Baseball America), but struggled in his first two attempts to make the jump. In 2012, though, he hit .239/.350/.514, with (predictably enough), a better mark away from his spacious home field. He did not, however, grade out well defensively, and with only 260 PA to his name, was valued as worth less than a win by both Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs. Still, he's got some good upside to him.
Brad Peacock was ranked #36 on Baseball America's top-100 list before 2012. After posting a 6.01 ERA in Triple-A, however, the luster may have worn off some. There are still those who think that Peacock could be an excellent starter in time, but until he learns how to get the ball to go where he wants it to, that's going to be more a dream than a reality.
Max Stassi is arguably the afterthought from Oakland's side of things, but he also holds some interest. You may remember him as being pretty hyped back in 2009 before he was taken by the Athletics in the fourth round. It's taken him a while, but the young catcher may finally be living up to some of that hype, hitting .268/.331/.468 in High-A Stockton. The problem is that, like Lowrie, he can't quite seem to stay healthy, and could easily flare out again.
On the whole, it seems hard to compare Boston's one player--a bullpen arm besides--to Houston's three. While only Chris Carter has seen any significant time in the majors, all three players are worth paying attention to, and with Jed Lowrie not far from free agency, it's hard to see the Athletics actually winning in terms of value here. If even one of these players hits, chances are the Astros come out looking like winners in the trade.
Then again, this is Billy Beane we're talking about, so chances are all three Astros players are going to find their calling as ranchers while Jed Lowrie competes for the 2013 AL MVP. I'm pretty sure that's how these things work with him.