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Mark Melancon Signs With San Francisco

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Closer Mark Melancon signs with the San Francisco Giants

The first big name closer of the off-season has signed with a team. Everyone expected Aroldis Chapman to be the first closer to sign, but Mark Melancon beat him to it. Melancon signed a four-year, $62 million contract with the San Francisco Giants, making him the highest paid reliever in the game.

Melancon split the 2016 season between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals. He appeared in 75 games between the two teams, and recorded 47 saves out of 51 save opportunities. His 2.8 WAR in 2016 was the best of his career, and his 0.90 WHIP ranked third best in his career.

San Francisco could have used Melancon’s services in 2016. The Giants led the majors with 30 blown saves, and had a 71-9 record when leading after eight innings. Those nine loses led the majors, and was the most by any team since 2013. Perhaps the biggest blown save by the Giants came in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs scored four times in the 9th to beat the Giants 6-5.

With the addition of Melancon, the Giants have taken the first step in retooling a bullpen that had a 3.65 ERA in 2016. That mark was good enough for 15th best in the majors, but was not good enough for the Giants. The bullpen was one of the major reasons why the Giants gave up the division lead, and eventually the division title, to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. By adding Melancon, the Giants will now have one of the best closers in the game to call on in the 9th.

The newest San Francisco Giant has recorded 98 saves in the last two seasons, and is one of only 13 closers to record a 50 save season; a feat which he accomplished in 2015 with the Pirates.

Not only does Melancon bring great skill to the closer position, he also brings postseason experience. He has appeared in ten postseason games in his career, and has a 3.60 ERA. Four of those ten games came in 2016 with the Nationals when Melancon worked 4.1 scoreless innings.

Mark Melancon is coming off great back-to-back seasons, and will look to continue his success with the Giants. Now that the Giants have a lock-down  option to go to in the 9th, they have a great chance to make the postseason in 2017 and beyond.