Heyman: Mark Melancon and Pedro Alvarez Are on the Trading Block

Jon Heyman has a rumors article up at CBSSports.com, and it includes two expected Pirates trade notes. Heyman says that “two rival GMs” have said Mark Melancon is on the trading block, and also notes that Pedro Alvarez is available.

I’ll start with the latter, because it’s simple. Of course Pedro Alvarez is available. He’s set to make an estimated $8.1 M this year through arbitration, and was replacement level last year with horrible defense at first base. My feeling is that if Alvarez could be traded, he would have already been traded. That doesn’t prevent an AL team from looking at him as a DH. But it would probably be cheaper to sign him after the Pirates non-tender him, rather than trading something for him and tendering him a contract. If the Pirates do end up trading him, they’re unlikely to get anything significant in return.

As for Melancon, he was the best reliever in the National League this year, and has been one of the best relievers in baseball the last three years. He’s projected to make $10 M in his final year of arbitration, and the Pirates are already going to be looking at a big payroll increase with the other moves they have to make.

It wouldn’t be a bad thing to trade Melancon. The Pirates have had a lot of success in the past finding really good closers who came at a cheap price. Melancon was acquired for one year of Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan was acquired for Sean Burnett in the second half of a trade that was supposed to tip the scales in favor of the Washington Nationals. The Pirates have also signed Octavio Dotel to a fairly cheap deal, and got Jason Grilli practically for free from the Phillies.

The Pirates already have a replacement on their team in Tony Watson. He has been just as dominant as Melancon the last few years, and is under control for two more seasons. That would create some other questions, such as the need for a new setup man, and the question of whether the Pirates would want to use a lefty reliever as a closer. If they did, they’d probably need another solid lefty reliever for the late innings. But their history shows that they’ve been pretty good at picking up the next good reliever. If they can get a good return for Melancon, then they shouldn’t hesitate to deal him.

Whether they can get a good return for Melancon is the big thing. I think they can, even if Heyman is saying other talented closers are on the block. The Pirates got Melancon for one year of Hanrahan. Melancon has been a much better reliever than Hanrahan, with fewer red flags. So they should get a better return this time around. I think they could get at least a top 50 prospect for Melancon, just based on how good he has been the last few years.

  • Does Pedro for Loney make sense?

  • if they cant get a quality asset in return…i.e. either a top 50 prospect or a decent player already in mlb, then they shouldnt trade him. They dont have to trade him. I have faith in Huntington to recover a quality player(s) in return though. Maybe they can package both Pedro and MM together and send them away in the same trade. Preferred to a team in the AL. What teams in the AL need a closer and/or a first baseman/dh? I can think of one off the top of my head right now….Baltimore. They may need both.

    • Pedro is not going to enhance a deal. Packaged with Melancon, I believe he’s going to have negative value. The only way the Pirates get anything in return from him is if they take another team’s headache.

      As far as AL teams go, the only deals that jump out are:

      If the Bucs were to take LaRoche and his entire contract, they might get a semi-decent prospect…maybe.

      Perhaps he could be swapped for Trumbo?

      The Rays might take him for Loney and kick in someone guaranteed to never make the majors.

      To the A’s for Billy Butler and a good prospect? Could be, but I don’t see Beane trading for payroll relief.

      Any one of those four deals is about the ceiling of what the Pirates can expect for Pedro.

  • Pretty much par for the course “news.”

    I agree there doesn’t appear to be much of a market for Alvarez.

    Kimbrel is fine comparison for Melancon, if some don’t think so, that say more about them and their biases than the actual results. Their process are different but the results are similar.


    Though I’m not sure front offices are looking to follow in A. J. Peller’s footsteps.

  • This is where, in my opinion, WAR becomes absolutely meaningless.

    Sure, he may be called on for other purposes on occasion, but Melancon’s job is to to protect leads and ensure wins.

    In 2015 he was 51/53 in these instances and his WAR was 1.9.

    In 2014 he was 33/37 and his WAR was 2.4.

    The MLB average for save percentage was in 2015 68.88%. If Melancon was average, he would’ve had 16 blown saves instead of 2. And that’s worth a sub-2 WAR? Pfffft…crazy talk.

  • Off topic, but it just flashed on screen that St Louis is losing Lance Lynn for all of next season to Tommy John surgery.

  • Pedro’s play has really put the Pirates in a bind at first base. He hasn’t been good enough to justify his salary but he hasn’t been bad enough to cut ties with him. It is now in the final year of team control. If you tender him, more likely than not you overpay him again and this time by much more than before. If you don’t tender him, you won’t be able to trade him for anything. If you tender him and miracle of miracles, he plays well, he walks at the end of the year for nothing. Or just non-tender him now and he walks for nothing.

    Bell is in the pipeline, but everything I read seems to indicate that it will be awhile before he’s ready to be an MLB first baseman. Ideally they would want to have someone who can be a starter for at least next year, giving Bell time to develop and learn how to play first base. I don’t think it’s a sure thing that Bell will be ready to assume the job next year. I think it’s more realistic to expect him to be ready in 2017.

    It comes down to whether or not the Pirates believe they can find a adequate replacement for Pedro at less than $8 million. I don’t think they can. I think their best option would be to tender Pedro and hope for the best. I think it’s reasonable to believe that he would improve in the field after a year of doing it and there really aren’t many free-agent options that are all that appealing.

    That all said, I don’t think the Pirates would agree with me. Rightly or wrongly, I think Pedro has played his way entirely out of the Pirates plans. The fact that he was not a starter in the wildcard game tells you all you need to know about the coaching staff’s faith in Pedro Alvarez. I don’t think they’ll make a tender offer to him and if he is traded I don’t think he will bring much in return.

    I don’t like the idea of trading Melancon at all. He is an excellent relief pitcher and the bullpen would certainly miss him. That said, I don’t think there is a chance of him returning either. The Pirates organization just doesn’t seem to value relievers the same way the rest of baseball does. I think they will try to unload his salary to allow them the necessary resources to work on the starting rotation. In my mind they need to sign at least two startering pitchers. Starting pitchers cost a ton of money and I think that’s where the Pirates will focus their money and efforts this off-season. At least I hope so.

    • I love your “bounce back” comment. I guarantee guys here would be allll over him as exactly that if he were currently playing for another team.

      • I wouldn’t bet that Pedro has a good year next year but I wouldn’t bet against it either. I thought he batted well down the stretch

        Imagine if Pedro were released and both Pedro and Andrew Lambo played well next year? I’m sure the comments on this board would be entertaining!

      • My issue with that is, he never really has done better than that to “bounce back” to. Sure, he could hit more HRs but when you delve into his stats its because he sacrificed in other areas.

        Pedro isnt a terrible option, im just not sure if “bounce back” fits what he could do in a good year. It’d be the first time if he suddenly put out a 120 wRC+ year.

  • That article also says that Ken Giles is available… just sayin…

    • How about Melancon for a one-year LH hitting 1B/3B? I haven’t done the research on whether there is any such animal, but that guy would provide a bridge to Bell and Kang and eliminate or mitigate the one year of control issue

    • Giles would be an OK throw-in as part of the upcoming Cody Asche mega-deal, I suppose.

  • Tim:

    I appreciate your analysis here and in each and every article on your site (those authored by you and your staff). Everything you write not only states facts and offers supportive ancillary factors, but you then analyze based upon reality – whether it be market factors, other teams needs, and so on.

    Often the comments section contains well articulated opinions, sometimes contrary to yours. Opinions are what they are – opinions. And differing opinions can both have well reasoned support. But often the comments just the normal internet nonsense.

    Please Tim, for your own good, don’t get into an intellectual battle with the nonsense commentators. If someone says “Hey Tim, I have a question…. please explain XYZ,” that is one thing. Yet, when the comment is “Tim, you are so dumb because of (fill in unsupported nonsense)” I see no reason for you to reply. And the mere fact that you do – based upon the strings that follow, show you are simply pissing into the wind. They don’t get it. And you can shout all you want, they never will.

    You Tim, keep up your excellent work.

    The rest of you, feel free to say anything you want – this is America – land of free speech. But if you have substantive comments or criticism, then be substantive. It makes for far better discussion. Unsupported opinion offers nothing to any reasonable debate on any topic, sports or otherwise.

    (Now my turn to feel the wrath).

    • I didn’t see any comments like the one you described. I’m always going to respond to comments, even ones that disagree with my opinions. Baseball is a sport. It doesn’t matter. It’s entertainment. And part of that entertainment is discussing the game, and debating different opinions about the game.

      There seems to be a trend these days that you can’t disagree on a topic without it meaning more than a simple disagreement. I don’t buy into that. I think you can disagree on topics, have a debate, and ultimately it means nothing more than just having a discussion on sports. It’s not personal, and it’s pretty meaningless when you consider the importance of the subject.

      I also don’t think that people never change their opinions in these discussions. I know that I’ve changed my opinions before after discussions, or at least took another look at the subject. That’s the point. You run into trouble when you start avoiding any conflicting opinion.

      Truthfully, I prefer the debates over the questions. Most of the time, the questions can be answered by the person asking them with a quick Google or site search. That said, my favorite comments are still the ones about my excellent work. 🙂

      • PREACH!!!

      • Yeah man, I change my opinions a lot. I totally contradict myself sometimes too.

        • Agreed! In fact, I am at this moment both in favor of upgrading at 1B and in favor of trying Morse to start the year.

          • I am not in favor of Morse to start but I am also not in favor of blocking Bell unless it’s for Park or Davis and obviously Park is no longer an option and Davis never was.

      • I agree. I totally agree that there can be differing opinions that can both be well supported. And debate only proceeds if there are in fact opposing viewpoints that can challenge ones own opinions and make one think. The concern i expressed was that i see too many nonsensical opinions here (although far less than most websites) that simply say, for example, Pedro sucks. We all know statements like that cause “debate” but actually mean nothing. It seems o me that you occasionally reply to those comments. And certainly you should do as you wish. But when a person starts from that spot – a strong unsupported statement – the person is unlikely to understand your original article let alone your reply to their comment. Regardless, i very much enjoy your site. I appreciate all the hard work you and your crew do. And i admire you tempered replies to all comments.

    • Gee, thanks Dad

  • It’s a long off-season and so many things could happen – but the idea of keeping Pedro and using him as both a 3b and a 1b is probably the best value use of him unless someone does decide to offer up a decent trade deal with the team.
    As I’ve mentioned I like Ashe from the Phils… but Pedro does fill a hole with Kang hurt at 3b.
    8 mil for a 3b/1b with 20 hr power isn’t going to come any cheaper than 8 million unless he’s very young.
    Melancon is a steal at 10 mil – the Rocket in Red is looking for $20 mil. Why trade him though when your looking to return to the playoffs. Keep him and Watson. Yes normally we trade at the highpoint and clearly he’s there – but he’s also been reliable. Keep the shark.

  • Melancon is projected for .8 war and fip of 3.02 by steamer. If you think those projections are remotely accurate why are you gonna pay 10m plus a top 50 prospect?

    • “If you think those projections are remotely accurate”

      That’s the key.

      • What were his stats this last year? WAR that is

        • 1.5

          • And 2.0 the year before, and 2.5 the year before that.

            The best argument for trading Melancon, and the one that nobody seems to be talking about, is his clear decline.

          • Yes 1.5 war and 2.82 fip. Even with the benefit of assuming he repeats this performance which steamer strongly disagrees with tell me why I’m parting with a top 50 prospect after paying 10 m for 1 year of control.

            The Kimbrel comparison is very poor IMO. He never had a fip above 2 before last year and seasons below 1

            • Teams generally don’t look at the most recent year as the only part of their analysis.

              Also, there are no options available on the free agent market, which means the trade market will be valuable.

              And that $10 M price tag is more than fair compared to what a guy with Melancon’s numbers would get guaranteed on the open market. David Robertson got a 4 year, $46 M deal last off-season. He was coming off a 1.6 WAR and 2.68 FIP.

              • When we dealt hanrahan what was available on trade market as far as closers? I can’t remember- was there anyone quality of chapman or kimbrel. Seems other teams may have caught onto this trick which might make it hard to duplicate the same sort of return

                • Raphael Soriano was the only other closer to change teams, and he was signed as a Free Agent. I remember there being a very limited market that winter, plus, Hanrahan just wasn’t very good at that point.

          • And WAR notoriously undervalues closers in both the public eye and the industry, since they mostly only pitch 75 innings or less a year. WPA is much more in tune with their perceived and, probably, real value (of course we don’t have a good correlation between salary and WPA).

      • I think he could continue to see a regression…but I dont know if I would imagine it to be that great.

    • The strategic role a strong closer plays is not captured by WAR or FIP. When Chapman enters a game, one expects the game to end well for the Reds. Melancon had the same effect last season.

    • Why do people steamer is accurate in their predictions?

  • We talk about Pedro and his lack of value but why did he suddenly become such a defensive liability? He downfall has totally baffled me. I know he was never a gold glove but he played an adequate 3rd Base. Now the consensus is to non- tender him because he has no trade value. This guy was an expensive top draft choice.

    • That consensus is only by people that have nothing to do with the organization. Exactly what indication have you gotten that they will? They tendered him last year. They will again this year. Also he isn’t worthless to the pirates. His bat is far form worthless. He will be back I guarantee it.

      • BucNation- I hope you are right. I’m not saying we should non-tender Pedro. I hope they keep him and he goes on a tear and plays an adequate defense. But as stated I’m baffles by his defense.

      • I get so frustrated with Pedro and I would love for him to go. That being said I can’t blame them for holding on to him if they cannot get the value they want in a trade. The thought of what Pedro could do in a contract year is scary. This is a tough decision

    • He’s actually not as bad a 3rd baseman as he is a 1st baseman. Move him back to 3rd if you end up keeping him.

  • They are going to have a big enough drop off in bullpen performance even if they hold onto melancon. I would not assume that because so easily replaced hanrahan and grilli that the same thing will happen. If they lose mm forget about who is closing. Who the hell are going to be your 7th and 8th inning guys? Hughes and caminero? Please… They better be bringing in a few guys if they are dealing mm.

    And top 50 prospect for melancon at 10 m with one year of control? I think that’s a pipe dream.

    • I would say that it makes as just as much sense to assume they’ll be able to find somebody as it does to assume the bullpen will drop off next year. They’ve surprised us two years in a row.

      • No not 2 years. Bullpen was very weak in 2014 after you got past melancon and Watson. Holdzkom shored up 7th inning in September. Until then it wasn’t a good pen after your closer and setup man

      • They received 5 WPA from MM and 4 from Watson last year. And a few more from the likes of Soria,Blanton etc.. You can be assured it will most likely fall off if MM stays. And if MM leaves it might not be a bad idea to prepare for a rather steep dropoff in WPA from the pen as the domino impact takes place.

      • Off topic. Why are you the pierogieking?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    November 10, 2015 1:28 pm

    Given salary, production, and the fact that he doesn’t have a position other than DH, I don’t see the Pirates getting much for Alvarez by himself. He would probably need to be in a larger deal, and only an AL team will likely be interested.
    That being said, its addition by subtraction – I’d trade him to just get him out of the way and open up first base….I’d take anywhere from a B- to B+ prospect straight up, at a position of need, or a power arm for the bullpen.

  • Do any of you seriously think that an AL team wouldn’t jump at getting a guy that has 30+ Homer potential and have a respectable AVG? Especially a bad AL team.
    I fully believe the Bucs tendered him and haven’t traded him yet because they know they need him. Not because no one wants him. I don’t believe the Bucs are willing to let him go. They know 1B isn’t easy to fill. Especially with the rotation of Bums they have brought in the last few years. 1B is bad. Huntington isn’t just going to let Pedro go for a minimal return. Its not happening or would have already

    • Yes, I seriously believe that. His WRC+ is only 114, which is below average for a first basemen, and not nearly good enough for a full time DH. Most AL teams don’t use a full time DH to give them some positional flexibility. Moreover, finding a hitter is actually good at hitting only is really difficult. Big Papi’s don’t grow on trees.
      Also, Pedro’s OPS is significantly lower than his career average when he DH’s or PH (SSS). I’m not sure he could actually DH.
      NOBODY would give the Bucs anything of value for him.

      • Not sure he could DH? You’ve gotta be freaking kidding me.

        • What do we all think we know about Pedro Alvarez? He thinks too much. Can you imagine him sitting all game, not in the field, just thinking about his at-bats? Yikes!
          Also, it is fairly conclusively shown that most hitters can’t hit at their historic levels when they DH more or less full time. It’s not easy to just hit.

          • Oh, and trying to focus at the plate after booting *another* ball in the field has really been putting Alvarez in a sound state of mind?

            I’m fully aware of the *historic* evidence showing *some* hitters have performed worse a designated hitters, but you blooowwww that out of the water by saying he straight-up couldn’t do it.

            • You’re reading comprehension isn’t real good, is it? I clearly wrote “I’m not sure he could do it.”
              Moreover, he would be a platoon DH. My main point, though, is that he’s not worth much as a trade chip. I don’t think there’s any real dispute with this sentiment.

              • That’s good. What team would want a platoon DH? Especially at over 8 million. At 4-5 million maybe.

          • Better than thinking about the error he makes about every 15 innings he is on the field.

        • Alvarez as a DH without any of the fielding BS holding him back is a .250 .800 OPS hitter with 35-40 homers especially in some of the AL parks.

          • There’s no way you can say he will be definitely be a better hitter as a DH. Maybe. The only thing we have to go on is the sss of his past DH at bats in which he OPS’d under .640. Add his PH at bats and he’s under .600.

            • “The only thing we have to go on is the sss of his past DH at bats in which he OPS’d under .640”

              Good lord, no. Just stop. Using a SSS is quite literally the worst thing you could do when making a decision.

              • So how would you try to determine Alvarez’s DH potential if you were an AL team? He’s going to magically surpass his best season at age 30?

                • NMR would pay on his gut feeling and put up a hope and prayer that Pedro could do it and would pay him 9 million to try. No respectible GM is going to try an reason up a way Pedro could be a good DH. It sounds good to say he won’t have to worry about fielding, but they will want some real evidence. The SSS proves otherwise.

              • Making the decision on a whim is a better way to do it?

        • Wrong again NMR. That is the argument for why he wouldn’t be a good DH. HE’s not a good PH. I thought you followed the Pirates. So just put the kidding aside.

  • Hurdle has used Tony Watson so significantly that his arm will probably fall off. Keep Melancon.

    • Melancon was used 78 times this year. Watson 77. They’ve each been used 222 times over the last three years combined. So the usage is the same for both guys.

      • That’s why I would keep them both. Why diminish the strength of this team? But I still believe Watson’s arm will fall off.

        • I agree with Bill. I am worried about Watson’s arm
          falling off. Look what we did with Hanrahan.

  • We may see a larger trade than a Melencon for a prospect. The Pirates need to plan their core roster components for the next five to seven years. 2016 may provide an opportunity to do just that.

    These days, Huntington can make deals from a position of strength.

    • Definitely possible. They also don’t really need prospects. I just like showing that value, because it’s cleaner than “they can trade him for this need”.

      • My wish is for the Pirates to acquire a young LH SP to take Liriano’s place when the time comes. Top of the Rotation LH starters, SS, 3Bmen and 1Bmen are organizational needs. They may be able to fix one of those needs this offseason

      • What would you think about a trade of Melancon to the Angels for Sean Newcomb?

        • derekbellstutu
          November 10, 2015 4:51 pm

          The Angels have Huston Street under contract through 2017, so I don’t see them look in need of Mark Melancon. That being said, acquiring Sean Newcomb would be a great add for the Pirates. I just don’t know what the Angels would want in return.

          • They are interested in Plouffe for 3B if the Twins get Park…maybe Neil Walker would be an option?

  • Top 50 prospect for Melancon? No way.

    • The Braves got a top 50 prospect for Kimbrel, plus a draft pick and another prospect, and they unloaded a ton of salary by attaching Melvin Upton in the deal.

      Melancon couldn’t get just the top 50 guy?

      • But Kimbrel came with contract a la years of control.

        The only way they get something in the Top 50 is if there is more pieces involved.

        • Which is part of why he got more, and they were able to send away so much salary in the deal.

        • And Kimbrel is the far more valuable reliever.

          • Mike Hazen? NH. Sorry about that Hanrahan thing a few years ago. But hey, Melancons available! Yea, his contracts up at the end of the year and we’ve used him 222 times the last 3 years. Can I have a top 50 prospect? What? No, no problems at all other than a mysterious velocity drop last April.

          • Last three years:

            Melancon: 6.1 WAR, 10.04 WPA, 123 SD, 18 MD, 2.54 xFIP
            Kimbrel: 6.0 WAR, 8.19 WPA, 111 SD, 23 MD, 2.20 xFIP

            What makes Kimbrel far more valuable?

            • Wrong person

            • Craig Kimbrel has struck out over 41% of the batters he’s faced an has held opponents to a .157 batting average against.

              Mark Melancon has been a very good reliever, but nobody puts him on the same level as Kimbrel and Chapman. Nobody.

              • Then they should.

                Pointing to strikeouts and BAA alone is incomplete analysis, and ignores a lot of things.

                Over the last three years, Andrew Miller has a higher K% than Kimbrel and the same BAA. Is he better than Kimbrel? Or do we have to look at more than two stats?

                • Tim, I don’t set the market.

                  Fact is that baseball does not put Melancon on the same level as the elite closers in the game.

                  • That’s not a fact. That’s your opinion and speculation on what others are thinking. Who exactly are you talking about when you say “baseball”?

                    • Literally anyone else that comments on the game, and not a Pirate homer site.

                      Nobody puts Melancon on that same level. They just don’t.

                    • You do not appear to know that ad hominem arguments reflect poorly on whomever makes them.

                      Consider yourself informed.

                    • This isn’t a Pirates homer site. You know that.

                      And if people don’t put Melancon on that level, then this makes him severely under valued. Then again, he was just named the best reliever in the NL. The same NL that had Chapman and Kimbrel. So maybe people do consider him an elite reliever.

                    • No no, never meant to insinuate *this* was a Pirates homer site. Give you guys more credit than that.

                      And Melancon was just named the best reliever in *2015*, and also happened to lead the league in saves. Your favorite stat. 😉

                      FWIW, I don’t think a top 50 prospect in return for one year of Melancon is crazy. I don’t think they’d get it, more likely one in the back half of the top 100, but that’s not terribly different in value.

                    • I also should have mentioned the fact that there are no free agent relievers increases their odds of getting a bigger return.

                    • The narrative about not overpaying for saves will certainly shrink the market for Pirates. Not to mention there have many “best relievers in the game” who have lost their effectiveness overnight. Paging Jim Johnson. No way Pirates would trade a Bell or Meadows for him.

                      I hope you’re right about Melancon’s value, but I won’t be surprised if it’s more quantity and less quality.

                    • While it’s certainly common knowledge by now that it’s not the most efficient way to spend money, I don’t agree that it shrinks the market. It’s the same handful of clubs every year that have an unlimited budget and overspending on a closer is just easier. And they’ll be looking again this year.

                    • The reality is, you only need one team to be interested to make a deal, but it sure would be nice to have a few bidding against each other.

                    • The fact that 2 rival teams reported he was available says there’s interest. The Pirates couldn’t overpay, but there are many teams that will. The Pirates will probably only trade for major league ready players. They already don’t have enough spots to protect their prospects. If it happens this trade will not be like the Hanrahan trade.

                    • Adding ML ready players means they have to be put on 40-man roster, too. I could see a ML ready player and a prospect who doesn’t need to be on 40-man roster, or even a couple younger prospects, too.

                    • How about dealing Melancon for an already somewhat established middle to short reliever that has upside and years of control plus a top 100-150 prospect? Then you get a potentially valuable part for 2016 and possibly a Watson replacement down the road and an upside arm for the near future. I’m thinking a player who has had success at high A or better and fits the Pirates mold for the prospect…or just someone really young that they really like. I think it would be a good idea to get something that you can immediately use for Melancon if you can. The system is deep and the MLB club is really good. Time to tune it up for a championship run…although it can be argued they need Melancon to win the Division. There has got to be a nice 94-97 mph reliever with a year or so of decent results that is 25-26 years old they can grab up and turn into something more…and get a solid prospect along with him.

                    • I think we are more likely to get a top 100 prospect, salary relief, and another prospect that is not top 100, but might be close(r).

                    • mysonisnamedafterRoberto
                      November 13, 2015 5:20 am

                      A lot of what is gotten in return is timing in the market. There is definitely a need. The question is when. We have seen this in the past were, because of a prevailing trends within a market, other teams make available players and the need shrinks and therefore impacts the return.
                      A good example of that was this past year with closer. Chapman was on the market basically the day after the All Star game and teams were in need. The Reds waited too long other opportunities became available and the Red’s Return on Investment wasn’t there within the market.
                      One closer has already moved to the Seattle market. The Yankees, Reds and Pirates all have top closer on the market. You could see the market of 6 to 9 teams needing closer or back of the bullpen help that also feel they have a chance to make the playoffs. I like the Pirates odds with this move. I think if the Pirates wait and let Chapman move happen first it may drive up Mark’s value.

                    • I don’t know . . .even forgetting the argument on whether Melancon is as good as Kimbrel or Chapman or whoever else–let’s say for argument’s sake that they’re all equally good. They’re still ALL available. Kimbrel isn’t going to get as good a return as Kimbrel. If that’s how the market shapes up then I’d just keep him, which isn’t such a bad result either.

                    • I dont think they are all on the same level of “on the market” though.

                      Wouldnt shock me if SD held onto Kimbrel unless someone wowed them with an offer. That’d leave Chapman and then Melancon just below him.

                    • NMR: You’re literally wrong! It Looks like all the other sites think Pirates will get a big return for Melancon. You seem to be the only one who doesn’t think so. You’re still stuck on the opening series of 2015 when they said Melancon’s velocity had gone down. What is it you have a hard time understanding? You just want to be negative at any cost. You’re the kind of person experts say to avoid. The Pirates could win the World Series and you would say, “they’ll lose their drive to win now.” I’m sure you’ll have something negative to say about this. In reality anything you say will prove me right.

                • You can make a much stronger argument that Miller is as good or better than Kimbrel than you can Melancon is as good as Kimbrel. And I’d bet my life most in baseball industry view Andrew Miller as a better reliever than Mark Melancon on an apples to apples comparison- as they should imo.

                  • I guess if you had a vote Miller would have been the reliever of year in the NL. Majority of people who follow baseball more than us thought Malancon was better.

              • The people who voted him NL reliever of the year did…

              • Save percentage?

            • “What makes Kimbrel far more valuable?”


            • Because ESPN says so.

    • I agree with Tim. I dug through the last 10 years of closers that were traded in the off-season. Here is Melancon next to the 3 most recent:

      Mark Melancon 2015
      coming off 3 years of 16, 33, 51 saves, averaging 2.0 WAR (2013 & 2014 as part time closer)
      due about $10.5M in 3rd year of arbitration

      Craig Kimbrel pre-2015 season
      coming off 4 years averaging 46 saves and 2.8 WAR
      4 years $66M remaining on contract
      Traded by Braves with Melvin Upton (3/$46 remaining on contract) to Padres for
      Jordan Paroubeck (unranked prospect)
      Cameron Maybin (2/$16M remaining on contract)
      Carlos Quentin (1 / $8M remaining)
      Matt Wisler (Padres #1 prospect)
      2015 competitive balance round A pick.
      So it was basically: Kimbrel for Wisler, Paroubeck, a Round A pick, and $22M salary relief

      Addison Reed Dec 2013
      coming off 29- and 40- save seasons (0.8 and 1.6 WAR)
      league minimum in 2014 (2015 first arbitration year)
      Traded by Whitesox to DBax for Matt Davidson, Arizona’s #4 prospect (72 overall)

      Jim Johnson 2013,
      coming off 2 50-save seasons (1.3 and 0.9 WAR),
      to make 10M in arbitration,
      Traded for Jemile Weeks (Oak #5 prospect in 2010)
      David Frietas (Nationals #27 prospect in 2011)

      • “Everyone’s closer is available,” one GM said. “People, especially the young GMs, have no fear of trading their closer.”

        I’m not sure that those other years had “everyone’s closer” in the market. Supply and Demand is a thing, and it sounds like there’s a giant supply–if that’s the case I wouldn’t be in a hurry to trade because we’re not going to get that giant haul.

        • I think equally concerning is that if “everyone’s closer is available”, who’s actually doing the buying?

          • Boston.

            • Seems like the obvious one to me.

              I doubt you’re getting a Top 50 guy from them, but they have a ton of useful-but-blocked guys ready for Big League action. Also, you’d literally see yinzers heads explode, but maybe Huntington could pull one of those studs from last years Greenville club since theyre all 3-4 years away.

              • I was thinking of someone like Javier Guerra (#76 prospect) and a reliever…or maybe a pitching prospect like Michael Kopech and SS Marco Hernandez.

                They have a lot of middle infield depth in the system…Guerra and Marrero and Hernandez and plenty more.

          • Detroit

            • A need, but they don’t have anything close to the type of assets the Pirate want, do they? They might not have a single Top 100 prospect, let alone Top 50.

              • I suspect they will also give Rondon one more chance in terms of effort and being “the guy” before moving on from him as a future closer.

          • Heard another mention, Houston is looking for a closer too.

  • “But it would probably be cheaper to sign him after the Pirates non-tender him, rather than trading something for him and tendering him a contract.”

    Which is *exactly* why the fact that he hasn’t been traded already means next to nothing.

    Garrett Jones couldn’t be traded, then turned around and signed a 2-yr deal.

    Matt Capps couldn’t be traded, then signed with the Nats for $3.5m.

    Both players clearly had value, but teams knew the Pirates would eventually non-tender. There’s a lesson here.

    • There were trade rumors about Alvarez last year though, and they tendered him. So the idea that they’d get some sort of trade value by tendering him hasn’t exactly played out.

      • That’s about as lose of a correlation as I can possibly imagine.

        You, and all of us outside the organization, know so little about this situation that using something like that as an argument seems baseless.

      • They tendered him cause they aren’t going to let a massive power guy go for nothing. They will tender him this year too. To say no one wants a guy in his prime who will hit lots of homers is a joke. They wont trade him for a small return cause his bat is too valuable for a small market team to get rid of.

        • Do you really believe that???? Two years ago in one of the Pittsburgh papers there was a small story about N.H. trying to trade the monster mash with no takers. The writers last comment was, “I guess Neal had a higher value on Pedro than the other GMs”. He does not hit front line pitching and many of his homers do not alter the games outcome. He is the biggest reasons the Pirates are one and out or never overtaken the Cards. The others are Walker, Mercer, Locke, and Morton. I have seen Pedro’s long face every time he strikes out as he knows the Pirates are only one of a few teams that want him. He can forget the Yankees and Mets.

          • There honestly- is no logical reason- truthfully- why Alvarez cannot become significantly better this year at first base- just like there was no reason why he was nearly as bad as he was last year. We all know he NEVER had an issue fielding at 3rd base, and theoretically, first base should be easier. That being said, getting the WAR value he had this year offensively, and decreasing the defensive liability to half of what it was last year, is actually a pretty reasonable expectation, despite he was bad defensively pretty much the whole 2015 campaign. That is why he won’t be non-tendered

          • If he is terrible why is he still on the team? If hes useless why is he still here and not just here but playing a lot. To say Pedro is why they are one and out is asinine. He might have the most playoff success of any of them. I recall him destroying the Cards pitching in the playoff series. So I would say yes he hits frontline pitching. Why does NH have a higher value on him? Cause he is valuable to the Bucs. Bucs could have gotten rid of him so many times. There is a reason he is still here. Many homers don’t alter the game? Go home

    • Yes, keep Pedro until the trade deadline.