The Washington Nationals were looking to bring back Mark Melancon, but instead, he is going to go to the Bay Area
At the trade deadline season, the Washington Nationals dealt for closer Mark Melancon and he provided stability in the ninth inning. Now, Melancon, who is a free agent, has found a new team to sign with.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network was first to report Melancon was close to a deal with the San Francisco Giants. Now, Buster Olney of ESPN is tweeting that the deal is done, pending a physical and Joel Sherman of the New York Post has the reported terms:
Sources: The Giants and Mark Melancon have agreed to a deal, pending a physical; Melancon is going through his physical.
Melancon saved 17 games in 18 chances with the Washington Nationals in 2016 and had one postseason save. Now, he heads to the Giants, a team that needed to sure up the ninth inning after their bullpen blew 29 saves during the regular season. Plus, San Francisco had the ninth inning meltdown in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cubs.
With Melancon now off the board, there are only two elite free agent closers still available (Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen). As Mark Zuckerman of MASN reported today, the Nats could still try to sign either of those two closers or look to the trade market to solve their closer problem:
If Melancon signs with SF, still expect #Nats to make offers to Chapman, Jansen. Also expect them to explore closers via trade.
Right now, this is a huge loss for the Washington Nationals. Melancon brought stability to the ninth inning and was reportedly a good influence in the clubhouse as Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports tweeted last week. Instead of re-signing in D.C, he goes to another contender in San Francisco.
Some of the closers the Washington Nationals could trade for are Royals closer Wade Davis or White Sox closer David Robertson. Davis has one year left on his contract worth $10 million while Robertson is under team control for two more years ($25 million).
For now, this is a stinging blow for the Washington Nationals as they look to make a big splash this week at the Winter Meetings in their proverbial backyard (National Harbor, Maryland). If the Nats are going to go all-in, they need to find that elite closer option to help them get past the divisional series. But, will they have the money or the willingness to move high-end prospects to do it?