According to multiple reports, the San Francisco Giants have found their new closer. Mark Melancon, who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals last season, is set to sign a four-year, $62 million deal with San Francisco on Monday. Melancon was one of the top relievers available in a free agent market that also includes Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports had the news first.
Source: Melancon with #SFGiants is indeed four years, $62M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 5, 2016
Giants Sign Mark Melancon to Four-Year Deal
Before joining the Pirates in 2013, Jansen also saw service time with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Houston Astros. However, it wasn’t until he arrived in Pittsburgh that he really became an elite reliever. Since that time, he has recorded 147 saves, 268 strikeouts, and just 45 walks.
The 2016 season may have been the finest of his eight-year career. Though he didn’t quite match his 51 saves from 2015, the 47 he notched last season still ranked second in all of baseball. He struck out 65 batters while allowing just 12 free passes, and finished the season with a 1.64 ERA, a miniscule 0.90 WHIP, and a career-high 2.8 WAR.
Last season, the Giants bullpen was so unreliable, especially at the back end, that it nearly cost them a playoff spot. Ultimately, it cost them the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs. Melancon represents an immediate upgrade, and essentially turns the Giants biggest weakness into a strength. San Francisco’s streak of even-year World Series titles ended last season. With Melancon aboard, 2017 could see the beginning of an odd-year streak. At the very least, the Giants should now be considered true contenders heading into next season.
Considering that Chapman is reportedly seeking a deal worth $100 million over six years, the Giants seemingly got their closer for a bargain price, relatively. While Melancon will never match Chapman’s strikeout numbers, their other stats look very similar. In some categories, such as walks allowed, Melancon even outdid Chapman last season. Giants fans should be thrilled with this signing.