Mark Melancon, Red Sox closer?
Or Mark Melancon, part of a game of chicken between the Sox and super agent Scott Boras?
That's what Lou Merloni thinks. On Thursday's 'SportsNet Central', he told Carolyn Manno that the acquisition of Melancon could have been a move to get Boras to lower his asking price on Ryan Madson, the ex-Phillies closer who is now the premier ninth-inning reliever left on the free-agent market.
"I really do think this is a message out to Scott Boras and Ryan Madson," said the ex-Sox infielder. "There aren't really any big-market teams out there that are looking for a closer. And Scott's saying, 'Well, Boston's the only one. Obviously, that's where my guy is going to go.'
"But Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington acquires Melancon and says, 'Listen, we're happy. Mark Melancon can be our closer, Scott, I don't know what you're talking about. We don't need your guy that bad.'
"Melancon has got experience as a closer. He can get it done. And remember, there's no lock that Daniel Bard is going to be in the starting rotation. He could still bump out to that bullpen . . .
"I do think this was a message for Scott Boras."