The San Francisco Giants lost too many games in the ninth inning last season. So they were excited when they landed Mark Melancon, a guy who’s finished in the top five in saves the last two years.
The feeling is mutual, Melancon said Tuesday in a conference call. What drew him to the Giants was their successful tradition and strong defense, among other things.
“It was obvious that this organization knows how to win and that’s their top priority,” he said. “They’re set up with Gold Glovers down the middle: Buster Posey, [Brandon] Crawford, [Joe] Panik. Being a groundball guy, that’s a huge priority. Just being on the other side, you could tell how much character there was in the other clubhouse. It was the total package, in my opinion.”
He said there were other factors that informed his decision, including an endorsement from beloved former Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, who was Melancon’s teammate in Pittsburgh.
Melancon also has a relationship with Hunter Pence, who’s the 31-year-old righty’s occasional yoga partner: “I think we get a kick out of one another.”
Coming to San Francisco had several plus sides for Melancon, who said he fielded a fair amount of attention from other clubs during free agency. Part of that was a chance to close games for a starting rotation that includes Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.
He also said his family fell in love with The City and that having a four-year, $62 million deal allows him confidence that he’s found a new home for his three children and wife.
“You know what they say about happy wife, happy life,” Melancon joked.
Adding a premier reliever came at a cost for the organization, which will now have to pay luxury taxes for the third-straight season.
“That was a pretty easy decision because of the value we believe Mark brings to the Giants,” CEO Larry Baer said.
General manager Bobby Evans revealed during the call that the team added one of Melancon’s former Pittsburgh teammates to a minor-league deal. Bryan Morris will be a non-roster invite to the team’s 2017 spring training team. Morris made 24 outings last season for the Marlins.