It’s been a long time since the Giants paid cash money for a new closer. After Armando Benitez’s ill-fated three-year, $21 million contract, the Giants had a solid 10-year run in which they used two homegrown pitchers and a minor-league free agent to close. It was very cost effective, for the most part.
But sometimes, a team just has to use brute force. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Giants are one of three teams with an offer in to Mark Melancon. The deal is thought to be at least four years and worth more than $60 million. Rosenthal describes the Giants’ offer as the one that’s “thought to be the strongest.” It makes a lot of sense, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a little scary.
Four years and $60 million are roughly the terms that were given to B.J. Ryan and Jonathan Papelbon, adjusted for salary inflation. Ryan was a disaster for the Blue Jays, but Papelbon gave the Phillies exactly what they were expecting for 3½ years, before being traded with gobs of cash for a solid prospect. So that’s the McCovey Chronicles guarantee: Either this deal will work out, or it won’t, unless it’s somewhere in the middle.
The Phillies and Papelbon is a little instructive, actually, as when the team signed him, he was the cherry on a talent sundae, a finishing touch on a mostly finished product. Then the Phillies disintegrated, and it turned out they really didn’t need a $15 million closer, but they were stuck with one. We don’t know what the Giants will look like in 2020, so a massive contract to a name-brand closer might look silly.
On the other hand, we sure know the Giants can use one right now.
I’m a huge Melancon fan, and I’m also not wild about emptying the farm for Wade Davis when there are several closers on the open market, so what I like to do is start with a contract that would make me thrilled — three years and $36 million, say? — and talk myself into each contract closer to four years and $60 million. What’s an extra year between friends? What’s an extra $3 million gonna buy every year, anyway? And that’s how it’s possible to like just about every free agent signing there is, even if it’s super ill-advised.
Because in my head, I have a war going between the different parts of my brain, mostly between the“DON’T PAY TOO MUCH FOR SAVES, DUMMIES” lobe and “DIDN’T YOU WATCH THE ACID BATH THAT WAS THE NINTH INNING LAST YEAR? PAY THE MAN” lobe. It’s quite a racket in there. But I could probably talk myself into a silly-big contract
The Giants reportedly have the strongest offer to Mark Melancon heading into the Winter Meetings. That’s not exactly a surprise, but it’s still a little stunning to see the actual numbers. $15 million per year. A contract that will take him into his age-36 year. If you say so, Giants. If you say so.