The Giants saw their 2016 season end because they couldn’t get the last three outs of Game 4 of the NLDS to the Chicago Cubs.
Determined to not let closing games continue to be the team’s downfall, general manager Bobby Evans made his first big signing of the offseason by adding All-Star relief pitcher Mark Melancon.
The 31-year-old righty logged 47 saves last year with a 1.67 earned run average with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals. (Although his advanced metrics suggest he was fortunate to have such a low ERA as he carried a a 2.99 xFIP.)
“Adding a premier closer was our main priority this offseason,” Evans said in a news release. “Mark solidifies the back end of our bullpen and fills a critical role. He brings talent, leadership and experience to our pitching staff.”
Melancon signed for four years at a reported $62 million. According to Spotrac, he has a no-trade clause and the last two years are player options at $14 million each.
The three-time All Star doesn’t strike out a lot of batters at 8.20 K/9 last season, but he’s been the model of reliability over the last three years, when he blew 10 total saves. (Santiago Casilla led the MLB last season with nine blown saves.) In the 2015 campaign, he won the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year award.
He could be due for a regression to the mean, but with the amount of money expected to go to the other marquee bullpen aces available this year — Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman — the Giants are hoping they’ve found a market inefficiency while still landing a big-time closer.
Evans told CSN Bay Area that the team is now in the luxury tax and that’ll be a consideration as the Giants look to round out their roster, according to Alex Pavlovic.
I am excited to say I am officially apart of the San Francisco GIANTS organization! pic.twitter.com/btcMlpil8O
— Mark Melancon (@Mark_Melancon_) December 5, 2016