Mark Melancon spent his 2016 season splitting time between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals. At the age of 31, Melancon is now a free agent who has drawn comparisons to Andrew Miller who has been instrumental in leading the Cleveland Indians to the World Series. The Nationals are expected to try hard to sign him in the offseason.
Melancon appeared in 30 games with the Nationals in 2016 and registered 17 saves in 18 opportunities. He had an ERA of 1.82 as well as a WHIP of 0.80 in 29.2 innings pitched. In the playoffs, he appeared in four games and had one save in 4.1 innings pitched. His performance in both the regular season and the playoffs has made him a hot commodity in free agency this year.
Who Else Is Interested in Melancon?
There are many teams that are going to be inquiring about his services come December. In addition to the Nationals, it is believed that the Boston Red Sox are going to be making a pitch to sign the closer. In reality, any team that has payroll to spare and needs to shore up its bullpen should be interested. Therefore, don’t be shocked if the Yankees, Cubs or Dodgers show some interest. Other contenders like the Orioles or Giants should be interested in him although his market value may be too high for them.
What Type of Contract Could Melancon Receive?
Melancon isn’t the prototype closer who pitches exclusively in the ninth inning. Instead, he can pitch any of the final three innings or all of the final three innings depending on what his team needs on a given night or in a given series. In theory, this would seemingly depress his value on the open market. However, Andrew Miller doesn’t always pitch in the closer’s role, but he is paid like a closer.
Therefore, anyone who tries to sign him may need to pay upwards of $15 million per year or more for 70-80 innings of work. In addition to Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jensen are the only qualified closers under the age of 31 on the market, which will certainly make it a players market this offseason.
The 2016 free agent period is going to be remembered as a time when anyone with the ability to close out games got a big contract offer. No including his sponsorship by Mohegan Sun Pocono. Therefore, Mark Melancon should expect to be paid handsomely for having one of his best seasons at a time when demand was much higher than supply on the open market.