The San Francisco Giants have reportedly agreed to a contract with free-agent closer Mark Melancon, who recorded the second-most saves in the major-leagues last season.
ESPN’s Buster Olney was told by sources that San Francisco and the 32-year-old right-handed reliever agreed on an undisclosed contract that is pending upon the outcome of a physical of Melancon performed by Giants physicians. Melancon had 47 saves last season with a 1.64 ERA in a league-high 67 games pitched for the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Melancon is a three-time All-Star and led the National League in saves with 51 in 2015 with the Pirates.
Washington had wanted to re-sign the closer it traded for last July, but the price had become too steep. It was reported this weekend by the Washington Post that Melancon was entertaining offers of four-year contracts in the neighborhood of $60-plus million.
Signing a lock-down closer was at the top of the Giants’ off-season to-do list after the team’s bullpen’s meltdown in late last season and in the postseason that contributed to San Francisco losing to the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series in October.
The final blowup came in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cubs at AT&T Park, where the five relief pitchers used out of the Giants’ bullpen could not hold a 5-2 lead in the top of the ninth inning, giving up four runs in a 6-5 series- and season-ending loss.
Santiago Casilla wept after the Giants’ loss because manager Bruce Bochy did not use the team’s closer – who had 31 saves during the season – in the final inning against the Cubs. Bochy had lost confidence in Casilla in the final weeks of the season after the closer had blown nine saves, tied for most in the major leagues.