The San Francisco Giants did not win the World Series in an even year, and it was the bullpen in the waterfront ballpark with the rope. Their obvious and stated priority was to get a big-name closer, and they did just that according to Buster Olney, reportedly signing Mark Melancon. The deal is for four years and around $62 million, according to Joel Sherman.
That’s a lot of clams. Fortunately, the 31-year-old is unambiguously excellent, as far as closers go. Since 2013, Melancon has thrown 290 innings, with a 1.80 ERA, 2.25 FIP, and 5.96 strikeouts for every walk he’s issued. In those four years, he’s walked just 45 batters, which is roughly what Fernando Rodney did last year.
The move will allow the Giants to focus on their other needs at the Winter Meetings, such as an outfielder, fifth starter, additional reliever, or bench player. Considering the size of this contract, though, and the Giants’ proximity to the luxury tax already, don’t be surprised if this is the lone move of the meetings. Even the reasonably priced players like J.D. Martinez will cost roughly 40 percent more than their stated salaries because the Giants are third-time offenders of the tax. This is a move that appears necessary, but it definitely comes with consequences.
Still, while the most expensive position to fill in baseball is “peace of mind,” it’s also the most satisfying position to fill. The Giants have their closer, and their biggest need of the offseason has been taken care of. There will not be a bullpen-by-committee. There will not be a placeholder. There will be a three-time All Star making a healthy amount of money. He should be pretty, pretty good.
The next step is getting the time machine to work, but they’ll have months for that. Must bring own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. Don’t get comfortable, Cubs.