According to Ken Rosenthal, the Pirates are discussing a possible Mark Melancon trade with a variety of teams around Major League Baseball.
Major League Baseball’s non-waive trade deadline is now just three days away. These final 72 hours is when things always get chaotic around the trade deadline. This year looks to be no different.
Currently, the Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins for the second National League Wild Card spot. When you combine that with the Pirates average at best pitching this season, and it is reasonable to expect the Pirates to be in the market for pitching help. However, it appears they may also trade away some pitching.
According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Washington Nationals have expressed interest in Pirates’ closer Mark Melancon. Washington is a team in dire need of bullpen help, so it makes sense they would call the Pirates about Mark Melancon who is a free agent to be. Rosenthal also reported that the Nationals are not the only time inquiring on Melancon.
As I said above, Mark Melancon is a free agent to be and, most likely, will be out of the Pirates’ price range this offseason. Melancon is having yet another dominating season in 2016, his fourth consecutive with the Pirates. On the season Melancon has a 1.51 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 0.96 WHIP, and is averaging 8.21 K/9 and just 1.94 BB/9 in 41 2/3 innings pitched.
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When you combine the fact Mark Melancon is a free agent to be with the current trade market, the New York Yankees just got two top 100 prospects for Aroldis Chapman who has not been as effective as Melancon the past four seasons, it is understandable as to why Neal Huntington would gauge the market for Melancon. However, I believe trading Melancon would be a bad move unless some team drastically overpays.
Take the Washington Nationals for example. They have a pair of highly touted, Major League ready starting pitchers in Joe Ross and Lucas Giolito. If I am Neal Huntington, I tell Washington general manager Mike Rizzo that one of these two arms must be required in a trade for Mark Melancon. I would also demand a quality back end of the bullpen arm to help replace Melancon in the Pirates’ bullpen.
A trade like that is more than a relief pitcher is worth, and therefore unlikely to happen. For this reason, I hope the Pittsburgh Pirates do not trade Mark Melancon. Also, the Pirates are in the middle of a playoff race. Trading away your best reliever, especially from an already inconsistent bullpen, is not the best idea in this situation. It also sends a very poor message to the Pirate clubhouse, where Melancon is very popular and one of the team’s leaders.
Personally, unless the return is a king’s ransom, I would hate to see the Pirates trade away Mark Melancon. The past four seasons he has been one of the best, most dominant relievers in all of Major League Baseball. Furthermore, the Pirate bullpen has been very inconsistent this season and can not afford to be losing a pitcher the caliber of Melancon. Ultimately, I will be surprised if the Pirates trade Melancon.
UPDATE 3:06 PM
According to Rosenthal, the Pirates are also discussing Mark Melancon with the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians. And according to Chris Cotillo, the Bucs are also talking to the New York Mets. Rosenthal reports that the Pirates want a back end of the bullpen arm, to be paired with Tony Watson and Neftali Feliz, along with long-term controllable pieces in return for Mark Melancon.
UPDATE Saturday 12:00 PM
ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Pirates are among the most active teams in the bullpen market. Crasnick reports that the Pirates are listening to offers on Mark Melancon, as well as looking to add bullpen help.
UPDATE Saturday 1:56 PM
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals are “focusing” on Mark Melancon. This is starting to feel like Melancon will be moved by 4pm Monday.