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Mark Melancon can opt out of his Giants contract in two years

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As always, the opt-out is a feature, not a bug.

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals - Game Five Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The details of Mark Melancon’s four-year, $62 million contract are trickling in, and there are quirks. When a team gives out a record-setting contract, there are usually going to be quirks. This is no exception. Quirks!

The most important detail: Melancon can opt out of his contract after the 2018 season. Some people can’t stand opt-outs because the team absorbs all of the risk, but I’m a fan.

... the biggest downside to every contract is that the team will have to pay the entire contract to a pitcher who isn't worth it. That's still true with a traditional contract. (The) biggest downside specific to an opt-out deal is that another team might get the chance to absorb the risk of a pitcher entering his mid-30s

Still applies. If the Giants get an All-Star closer for two years, then watch him sail away, they’ll still have been thrilled to have Melancon pitch so well while he was here. He’ll go to a team that will pay him too much, for too long, and they’ll absorb the future risk.

If Melancon pitches so poorly he doesn’t exercise the opt-out, it’s the same worst-case scenario as with a traditional contract. Check back in with me in a year to see how thrilled I am with opt-out clauses after Johnny Cueto exercises his. Through the tears, it’s possible that I will admit defeat. Not until then, however.

The contract terms also have quirks:

  • A full no-trade clause
  • A $20 million bonus, with $12 million paid up front and $8 million deferred
  • $4 million salary in 2017
  • $10 million in 2018
  • $14 million in both 2019 and 2020

So if he’s opting out, the Giants will have gotten two years of sterling closer work for $34 million. That’s pricey, but if he thinks he can make more than $14 million per year, or get a longer deal, he’s probably still pitching at an All-Star level.

It’s a ridiculous amount for a pitcher who will throw just an inning every other day, but we watched what can happen to a team without the kind of comfort that a steady closer can buy. It broke us. It broke us all. Mark Melancon will save us. Mark Melancon will save us. Mark Melancon will s