San Francisco has found their guy.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provided further clarification on the deal, tweeting out that Melancon’s pact with the Giants is for four years at a price tag of $62 million, making this the largest contract ever to have been handed out to a reliever, a record previously set by Jonathan Papelbon who signed with the Phillies back in 2012 for four years at $50 million. The team later confirmed the move via the following tweet.
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) December 5, 2016
Melancon, 31, has established himself as one of the top closers in the game. He didn’t really break onto the scene until his 2013 campaign with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he finished 3-2 with a 1.39 ERA, and converted 16 saves in 71 innings of work. Over the past four seasons, Melancon has compiled 147 saves. San Francisco would serve as his sixth team in nine seasons, as he’s also pitched for the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals, and New York Yankees.
The Giants have long been pursuing the right-hander, dating back to this summer’s trade deadline. Despite their pursuit, the Giants came up short, losing out to the Washington Nationals. Not acquiring Melancon came back to hurt the Giants down the stretch, as Santiago Casilla struggled mightily. As the season came to a close, Giants GM Bobby Evans appeared to second-guess his pursuit of a top-notch closer, telling Jon Heyman of Fan Rag that he felt like a “knucklehead.”
Entering this offseason, the closer market was one aspect of free agency that was going to be watched closely. With the news that Melancon being taken off the market, that now leaves Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman as the top options. Having seen that their division-rivals just made a move to lock-down the back-end of their bullpen, one has to believe that this puts more pressure on the Los Angeles Dodgers than ever, to sign either Chapman or Jansen. A recent report suggests that Jansen could see strong interest from the Miami Marlins, who rival teams believe are willing to offer Jansen a five-year, $80 million contract.
Given the fact that three of the Giants main four relievers in Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Sergio Romo have officially hit the open market, the addition of Melancon makes a perfect fit on many levels. Melancon will likely join the likes of Will Smith, Hunter Strickland, George Kontos, and others in the ‘pen next season.
Whether this move is it for the Giants this winter, well, that much remains to be seen.