Monday, December 5, 2016

Giants sign Mark Melancon

The first shot at the Winter Meetings was fired as the San Francisco Giants addressed the biggest need on their pitching staff as they signed Mark Melancon to a four year contract worth 62 million.
Melancon split last season between Pittsburgh and Washington and notched 47 saves to go with an ERA of 1.64 in the two stops.
Melancon will turn 32 before the start of the 2017 season,so this deal will run into his late 30's.

The Giants filled their number one need on the pitching staff and arguably their top need overall in slotting Melancon in as the closer over the next four years .
I mean,when you blow 30 save situations in the course of a season and two ninth inning leads in the playoffs,it does not require being a Mensa member to figure that one out!

Let's start with the bad news and what I don't like in the deal..
Melancon is expensive-15.5 million dollars isn't cheap and I've stated in the past that I am not always crazy about huge contract to relievers,especially those that end in the pitchers mid to late 30's.
I always worry about how often relievers bounce from good seasons to poor ones and then back again.
Melancon has been a consistent pitcher throughout his career other than an awful 2012 with Boston,so I'm not too worried about that fluctuation with him,but there is a little nagging worry that there could be at least a blip over four years and one could argue that he is due.
Melancon also isn't as visually impressive pitcher to watch as an Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen (hang in there,I'll spin this in the other direction below),so he won't be blowing anyone away.
That's a minor quibble,but sometimes just a small change in velocity could make a huge difference in effectiveness...

Now,the positive-Mark Melancon has been a pitcher that relies on his curve and cutter and by not being a high gas thrower,might have the type of toolbox that allows him to age a little better than Chapman or Jansen might.
Melancon is the safest pick of the three because of that reason and another one that seems simplistic-he throws strikes.
Melancon consistently notches low walk rates and doesn't hit the odd batter either.
Add to that,Melancon is tough to run on and allows few stolen bases,which is a factor that we (me included) often overlook with closers as many times when you come into a game,you have runners on base and quite often pinch runners,which let's face it usually aren't slow.
Melancon has also been consistent-as noted above,other than in 2012,Mark Melancon has posted consistently stellar stats and even at his age,doesn't appear to be slowing down.
I've always liked Melancon,I remember quite a few conversations with my former boss Emily (I really liked her,she left me alone!) about him and I think this is a good decision for the Giants on the overall.

In closing,I'll say this-Entering the off-season,I think the Giants needed a closer and a power bat.
I preferred Kenley Jansen as my top choice as a closer.
Aroldis Chapman for as good as he is,can occasionally have these nights that he has no idea where the ball is going and I'm never thrilled when teams that I root for sign guys that have been in legal trouble and especially for something as important as domestic abuse,so I wasn't on the Chapman train.
However,I think Giants fans can rest easy-Mark Melancon was signed early and even at his cost,might have been a steal.
Locking him up this early in the free agent period might have saved a lot of money that can be helpful in landing that badly needed stick for the lineup.
It'll be interesting to see just how much Jansen and Chapman sign for and gauge that against the contract of Melancon..
Now,lets see about that bat and I wonder about the plans of a certain Tribe in Cleveland....

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