Well, the Hammer fell in part one of the Bucco-Bosox swap. Now for the second act. The Bucs sent infielder Brock Holt, more accomplished with his stick than his mitt, to the Red Sox for RHP Mark Melancon and IF Ivan DeJesus.
Holt .292 in September with the Bucs, but his glove limited him to a bench role. He was going to be in a battle to break camp with the big team. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports thinks he's a good grab by Boston, saying "The Pirates didn’t want to trade him, but they evidently considered him more of a second baseman than a shortstop, and Holt wasn’t about to supplant Neil Walker."
The 25 year-old DeJesus, like Jerry Sands, came to Boston from LA in the big August Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett deal. He's a good glove guy with some pedigree in the minors (he was a second round pick in 2005), putting up career .298 BA and .370 OBP, though without much power. In 2008, De Jesus hit .324 with an OBP of .419. DeJesus was named to the All-Star Futures Game and Baseball America's All-Star second team. But he broke his leg the next season and hasn't had the same panache since.
Sox Prospects tabs him as a utility infielder., and DeJesus has lived up to that projection in a very small, 80 at-bat sample. He's hit just .205 in a couple of MLB stays, and Boston DFA'ed him in November (while keeping Pedro Ciriaco). At least DeJesus doesn't count against the 40-man roster, which needs cut down by a player. (EDIT - later in the day, the Bucs announced that RHP Chad Beck was DFA'ed.)
RHP Mark Melancon came into the league as Mariano Rivera's heir apparent in 2009; last year, he found himself tossing BP in the AL East and ended up back in AAA. Sox Prospects thinks it's the neighborhood, with this report: "Late inning reliever with a 92-95 mph fastball with decent movement and a plus low-80s curveball. Has shown success in small market of Houston, but mental toughness is still a question mark."
The snowball effect may be the mental jello they're referring to. Melancon's ERA was blown up by five beat downs out of 41 appearances when he gave up 21 of his 31 runs and six of his eight homers. Without them, he pitched to a 2.14 ERA. Good and bad outings all count the same in the stat book, of course, but show the volatility of judging a reliever's effectiveness by ERA alone.
He can touch 97 with a cutter and a curve, and even with a dismal 2012 line of 0-2/6.20, he struck out 8.2 batters and walked 2.4 per nine with a 50% ground ball rate. His problem last year was the long ball; he gave up eight in 45 IP while the rest of his peripherals were well in line. So the FO is betting on 2012 being an outlier season, and the metrics agree with them.
Melancon's two years in the NL Central with the Astros were strong (20 saves in 2011), and that's the guy the FO was looking at. The Bucs will give him every opportunity to be Jason Grilli's Tonto and be the set-up guy in 2013. He's 27, but controllable as he doesn't hit arb until 2014.
The Pirates couldn't get the Red Sox to surrender two guys prominently hyped as their targets, LHP Felix Doubront or SS Jose Iglesias. So the debate will go on whether they may have gotten a better haul if they waited until camp or even the deadline and dispelled the questions regarding Hanny. That was apparently a risk they didn't care to take in his walk season. Additionally, it avoids a round of musical chairs in the bullpen.
The FO was said to have also been in talks with Tigers, Royals, Rangers and the Dodgers before dealing Hanny to the Red Sox, so it seems like there just wasn't a robust market for him, at least for a big-time prospect. So they got a set-up guy and some kids. It's unfortunate, but the Bucs' big payoff for Hanny would have been at the last deadline, not 2013's; that August/September Pirate nose dive cost more than pride.
Still, it's probably fair value. Rosenthal's article header is "Pirates, Red Sox both score in deal," although the Bosox picked up a frontliner, which is more than it appears the Buccos did.