Mark Melancon Trade: Former Yankee Prospect Could Now Be Boston Red Sox Closer

When he was a prospect in their minor-league system the New York Yankees always referred to Mark Melancon as a possible successor to Mariano Rivera as their closer. Now the Yankees might get to see if Melancon can, indeed, close in the pressure-packed American League East.

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Only Melancon will be pitching for the Boston Red Sox, not the Yankees. After a couple of stints with the Yankees in 2009 and 2010 during which Melancon had mixed success, New York shipped him to the Houston Astros for Lance Berkman. Now, the Red Sox have acquired Melancon from the Astros if exchange for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland.

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Melancon, 26, saved 20 games for the Astros in 2011, which was his first full major-league season. He is two years away from arbitration and cannot be a free agent until 2017. 

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The Red Sox saw closer Jonathan Papelbon sign with the Philadelphia Phillies this off-season, and there has been some discussion of hard-throwing setup man Daniel Bard -- the logical choice to replace Papelbon -- moving into the starting rotation.

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Thus, there could be an opportunity for Melancon to close. And for the Yankees to find out if they were right all along.

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