The San Francisco Giants are deep in talks to sign All-Star closer Mark Melancon.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the San Francisco Giants are closing in on a deal with All-Star closer Mark Melancon. Melancon pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals in 2016, and saved 47 games with a 1.64 ERA over 71.1 innings. If and when the deal gets done, Melancon will become the first of this year’s elite free-agent closers to sign, and should eclipse the current record held by Jonathan Papelbon — four years, $50 million — for biggest contract for a relief pitcher.
The Giants had been one of the first teams to reach out to Melancon when free agency began in November. For San Francisco, there is an obvious need to add a closer to the back of their bullpen. Santiago Casilla lost his grasp on the role down the stretch last season, and his nine blown saves nearly kept the Giants out of the postseason. As a team, the Giants blew 19 total saves and ranked 15th in the league in ERA.
Melancon would come to the Pirates as the least-heralded reliever of the bumper crop of closers on the market this year. While he comes up short when compared to Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen in terms of raw stuff and strikeout ability, he has been remarkably consistent, making three All-Star teams in the past four years, and blowing only 10 saves since becoming a full-time closer in 2014.
The Washington Nationals were expected to make a heavy push to retain Melancon after acquiring him at the trade deadline. The Nationals liked the way Melancon fit into their clubhouse, and he helped deliver them to the postseason after Papelbon began to falter. Ultimately, the greater perceived need for an elite closer may have driven the Giants to blow Melancon away with a record-breaking offer.