Lowrie will become the Astros starting shortstop in 2012. The 27-year-old has spent that past four seasons in Boston, covering mostly third base and shortstop for the Red Sox.
After getting off to a very hot start in 2011 (.962 OPS in April), Lowrie cooled off considerably over the remainder of the year. After missing two months in the middle of the season, Lowrie finished 2011 hitting at a clip of only .252/.303/.382.
Lowrie has flashed promise over his years in Boston, but has yet to put it together over a full season. Over his 920 career plate appearances, Lowrie has maintained a line of .252/.324/.408.
Along with Lowrie, the Astros pick up 25-year-old right-hander Kyle Weiland. Taken in the third round of the 2008 draft by the Red Sox, Weiland was able to make his major league debut for Boston last season. Though he was roughed up for an ERA of 7.66 over his seven appearances including five starts for the Red Sox, Weiland did maintain an ERA and WHIP of 3.58 and 1.270 over his 24 starts in Triple-A in 2011.
After Brandon Lyon was shutdown last season, the Astros handed their closer’s role to former setup man Mark Melancon. Over his 71 appearances and 74 1/3 innings pitched in 2011, Melancon held an ERA and WHIP of 2.78 and 1.224 for the Astros. Melancon successfully completed 20 of his 25 save opportunities while maintaining a SO/9 of 8.0 and a BB/9 of 3.1. The 26-year-old has a career ERA of 3.21 over his 112 IP.
While Melancon closed games for Houston last season, it’s unknown at this point what his role will be for the Red Sox. Ken Rosenthol of Fox Sports reminds us that the Sox have “actively pursued” a trade for A’s closer Andrew Bailey. Rosenthol also notes that Boston “can’t be ruled out on” free agent closer Ryan Madson.