Mark Melancon is joining a loaded Padres team, but why did he leave the Braves in the first place?
Melancon was the Braves closer for the past season and a half, notching 22 saves in Atlanta. He would’ve been favored for that role yet again in 2021 had he opted to return, but instead took his talents to the San Diego Padres bullpen, where he’ll have to compete for the closer role with the likes of Keone Kela, Emilio Pagan and even Drew Pomeranz.
Point being, the Padres ‘pen is really, really good. Melancon is favored to get the call in the ninth inning of games, but if his ego is at all a priority, then San Diego shouldn’t have been the best option.
What drew Mark Melancon to the Padres?
Melancon signed with the Padres on just a $2 million deal, which can increase to $3 million with incentives. The contract also includes an option for the 2022 season. In a robust relief market, it’s surprising Melancon wasn’t able to fetch more.
Yet, from the man himself, Melancon just wanted to play for a winner. What does that say about the Braves?
To explain the dollars on the Melancon deal, he prioritized winning and took the lowest offer but with the team with the best chance of winning (of the teams he had offers from). His mindset was to go to a winner, and not worry about $. Don’t forget, his previous deal was $62M.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 17, 2021
As previously stated — these Padres are loaded. San Diego added to perhaps their greatest weakness in their pitching staff, not just in the form of Melancon but also former Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell, and former Chicago Cubs ace Yu Darvish.
Still, Melancon’s comment insinuates that either the Braves aren’t in a position to win in 2021, or they didn’t make an offer for a top-end closer when they desperately need one. Alex Anthopoulos has some questions to answer.
The Braves were one win away from the NL Pennant last year. Despite the circus-level 60 game season, and the expanded playoffs that came with it, the Braves are positioned to content for years to come. They are young, and they are hungry. But if they’re unwilling to add at positions of need — such as their bullpen — then they’ll blow a golden opportunity.