Five Major Questions for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016

Wild Card Game - Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

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Will Mark Melancon be traded?

There has been no better team in baseball the past few seasons when it comes to picking the right time to move on from a closer. The Pirates have already cycled through Joel Hanrahan and Jason Grilli have come and gone as the team’s closer. Both tailed off substantially as soon as they were out of the Shark Tank. Pittsburgh has managed to sell high on their closers, missing the steep decline. The latest closer, Mark Melancon has been an All-Star twice, and will be a free agent after this season. With a fully stocked tank of more power arms chomping at the bit to close, it seems inevitable that the Pirates will at least shop Melancon at some point this season.

Whether or not the All-Star is actually dealt is harder to figure. If the Pirates are firmly planted in contention come July, it’s hard to see them trading a star closer. Should the Pirates start slow or struggle, however, the possibility of a trade involving Melancon should become much more real. He figures to be the only elite closer up for grabs come July 31.

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