AT&T PARK — It took no time for Mark Melancon — the new closer of the San Francisco Giants — to feel right at home with his new team.
“That was one of the more impressive things that I’ve witnessed throughout this is how many guys have reached out to me in such a short period of time,” Melancon said during his introductory press conference at AT&T Park on Friday afternoon.
“It just backs up what I thought. The camaraderie in the clubhouse and the close-knit clubhouse that they have. There’s been about eight to 10 guys that have reached out.”
Melancon, who agreed to a four-year, $62 million contract earlier in the week, was on the stage sitting one seat down from Bruce Bochy — the most-relieved man in the room.
“To be able to fill such a need, I couldn’t be more thrilled and I can tell you the team feels the same,” the Giants manager said. “They’re very excited. It’s just going to allow us to put guys in more distinct roles. I’ve always felt that closer, he really makes the rest of the bullpen better.”
After a postseason which saw front-line closers like Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Andrew Miller morph from ninth-inning aces to multi-inning stoppers, Melancon indicated he’s open to filling such a role with the Orange and Black.
“That was kind of the new thing this year and those guys did a great job,” said Melancon, who worked 71.1 innings in 75 regular season outings in 2016. “Doing that for 162 games is different than doing it in the playoffs of course, but I’m open for anything — any way I can help the team win. I’m up for and willing to do.”
Based on the way Evans talked on Friday afternoon, Melancon will be the team’s only big-money bullpen addition of the winter and will likely join a group that will look highly familiar to last season’s crew of relievers.
“We’re going to stay open minded in terms of other options to strengthen our pen,” Evans said. “We’ve got a number of non-roster guys coming in that will compete. [We’ll] continue to build the competition. [We’re] very open minded, yet our focus on what we have is encouraging — with [Derek] Law and [Hunter] Strickland and [Josh] Osich and [Steven] Okert and Will Smith and [Cory] Gearrin and [George] Kontos. It’s a good core. And we’ve got a lot to work with.”