The MLB Winter Meeting are underway and the San Francisco Giants were the first to dive head first into the reliever market, signing Mark Melancon for 4 years and $63 mil. Melancon has the most saves in the MLB since 2014 with 131. He ranks 7th in WAR among qualified relief pitchers and 13th in xFIP.
Their bullpen was 22nd in wins above replacement last year, second-worst among teams that saw some postseason action. They were 15th if you base your value metric on runs allowed, which might be fair given their extreme park. They were 17th by strikeout- and walk-rate differential (K-BB%), which is the barest bones way to evaluate them, but splits the difference. - FanGraphsSantiago Castillo led the team with 31 saves, while five others saved another 12 games. San Francisco's 73 save opportunities were the 3rd most in the league. Melancon will have plenty of opportunities to save 50 games again, like he did in 2015.
Melancon was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2006 and traded to the Houston Astros in 2010 for Lance Berkman. The Astros then moved him in a deal with the Boston Red Sox for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland in 2011. A year later, the Sox traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt. The Pirates moved him at the deadline this past season in a deal with the Washington Nationals for Taylor Hearn and Felipe Rivero.
Nice to see a guy moved that much finally find a home and be rewarded with a big contract. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto will also appreciate knowing that they now have a closer they can trust!