The trade deadline rumors will be heating up this weekend, and already today there has been a big trade, with Andrew Cashner going to Miami. The first big Pirates rumor was a bit surprising, in that it didn’t involve the Pirates looking at a player, but other teams looking at Mark Melancon, per Ken Rosenthal.

It’s important to note that this in no way means the Pirates are trading Melancon. This means multiple teams are pursuing him, including the Nationals. I wrote earlier in the week that trading Melancon would be a good idea, and you can read the full analysis here. The cliff notes of the argument are that Melancon would fetch a big return on the trade market, where pitching is at an extremely high value. The Pirates would also be better off dealing him and getting something for him, rather than keeping him to contend (with their chances being low) and losing him to free agency for nothing this off-season.

But again, we don’t know if the Pirates would actually consider making this move. We just know that other teams are interested in Melancon. Rosenthal also mentions Wade Davis as another team the Nationals are talking about, and there have been rumors that the Royals aren’t likely to sell Davis.

With the high price of pitching, I think the Pirates could get at least one top 50 prospect for Melancon. Aroldis Chapman had more value than Melancon, but also got the number 27 prospect, a controllable MLB reliever, an outfielder who started the year in the top 100, and a lottery ticket outfielder in the lower levels. Melancon won’t get that much, but should get a return equal to the value of a guy rated around 50.

It will be interesting to see whether the Pirates actually make a move like this. Short-term, it would upset the fans, and might not go over well with the players. Long-term, it could make them stronger. And, as Rosenthal adds, they could still try to contend this year with Neftali Feliz and Tony Watson in the late innings.

UPDATE 3:04 PM: Rosenthal has two new updates to the Melancon rumors, adding two other teams to the mix, along with the asking price.

The 7th inning reliever would make sense, as it would give them a replacement if they moved Watson and Feliz to the 8th and 9th innings. You’d have to think this reliever would be a guy with a few more years of control than Melancon. And then it makes sense they’d be looking at prospects beyond the reliever, since it wouldn’t make sense for them to only swap relievers.

This sounds very similar to the return they went for when they traded for Melancon in the first place. They dealt Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt, getting Melancon, Jerry Sands, Stolmy Pimentel, and Ivan De Jesus Jr. Obviously the prospect side of the deal didn’t work out for the Pirates, on either side. But they were much better off with Melancon, rather than keeping Hanrahan around for one more year.

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176 COMMENTS

  1. Still feel that way? They traded Melanceon to a team in the NL ahead of them in the standings. Unbelievable.

  2. trade melancon and kiss 2016 goodbye….how many damn top 50 prospects do you need…..id rather have 1 hammer in the 9th…watson has struggled this year and Feliz walks too many hitters..the only guy this team should lose is Jaso…let this be a lesson to, high obp statues in the leadoff spot does no good whatsoever

  3. I’ve been saying since this came up, whatever prospect you get for him you package up with one of our big 3 and get a REAL starting pitcher.

  4. Team X recieves: Mark Melancon
    White Sox recieve: Max Moroff or Jose Osuna or Willy Garcia
    Pirates recieve: Zach Duke and elite pitching prospects from team X

    Something like this needs to happen.

      • We need a strong 7th inning type guy which is exactly what Duke is. You must have not paid any attention to him the last couple years.

      • This 2016 team is not an elite team by any means that should be built on. Reality check thery are 2 games above 500 and consistently show that they can’t match up against elite pitching.

  5. From MLBTR:

    “2:33pm: The Indians and Giants are among the other club showing interest, per Rosenthal (Twitter links). Pittsburgh is willing to consider proposals that include not only prospect value, but also a current major league reliever that would provide a solid set-up option for Pittsburgh.”

    If this is true…I’ve gotta wonder what the heck people are thinking. MM probably wouldn’t be going anywhere as a closer…so he’ll be used as a set-up man. I realize there’s a lot of posturing and nonsensical rumors that go on with respect to proposed trades, but I can’t believe the asking price for a solid set-up man would be a solid set-up man plus a prospect.

      • Hypothetically, yes…

        But I think it’s a little far-fetched to provide a BP arm and to require one in return. It would seem to negate the overall impact of adding an arm to send a good one the other way.

  6. I’d sweeten the pot to get giolito, maybe add kuhl/Williams + Hanson and get some lower level types back that won’t need rule 5 protection

  7. Trade him if the return is good. Then go get Hellickson and Neris from Philly.

    Demanding a MLB arm in return seems silly though. Teams that want bullpen help usually want it because they don’t have it. Get a couple prospects instead, then make a trade for a 7th inning arm separately.

  8. Field the offers and get the bidding war white hot. Let Feliz close tonight or tomorrow to show the team he’s just that damn good. Only trade for quality not quantity. You don’t have to trade Melancon unless the return is good. Definitely do a second deal involving excess prospects for a starter to show the team and the fan base we are trying to improve and make the playoffs.
    Spend some of that currency we’ve been hoarding.

  9. You [Pirates] owe it to your veteran players to not trade Melancon and try to make the playoffs which I believe is out of reach. They can always offer him and probably lose him at the end of the season and take the draft pick. That is better then players some other want to discard. IMO that K Be Hayes was a supplemental pick for losing R. Martin. That made sense !!!!

  10. I hope NH ask for the Kitchen Sink!!! It’s a Win-Win for us!! If someone wants him that bad, I would do it!! If they tell NH to go to hell, we will have him for the stretch run!! Especially if NH doesn’t want to give him up!!

    • Mr. Lipman on “Seinfeld” would have a field-day with you because of all of your exclamation points. But I gotta admit, I love your enthusiasm!!

  11. slightly off topic question…who was the last high school positon player that the Pirates drafted and signed? Hasn’t it been 3-4 years since they did? Possibly Meadows/McGuire, Moroff, or Nick Buckner (who is now gone)? Anyone since those guys?

      • I guess I should have qualified my question….outside of the first round….I guess I was getting at, other than first round, the Pirates have seldom drafted HS position players….was Moroff or Buckner the last one?

  12. Although some of the players and fans may not agree, trading Melancon would not be a clear indication that the Pirates have given up, its just they are trying to get something for him before he leaves for free agency. They are not going to give a QO to a 32 year old closer (because, I am sure he would very quickly accept it) and if they were going to extend him, why haven’t they by now?
    If the Pirates do sell off some of their soon to be free agents, I would like to see them get some lower level position player prospects, with some upside – 18-21 year olds who may have been HS draftees or International signings, that have strong upside potential. The Pirates system is looking lean below AA, especially in regards to position players.

    • Teams that are trying to win championships do not trade players integral to that pursuit while they are in contention, regardless of whether that player is a FA at the end of the season.

      • Ask Billy Beane and Don Dombrowski (when he was with Detroit) how that worked out for them…..

  13. No No No! Sign him three years. He has done nothing but been an asset to this organization. Pay him!!! Dammit!

        • Keep talking Bill. Aint happening. No way are they raising the payroll to pay MM. They aren’t signing him to an extension or in the off season. It is either trade him now or give him a qualifying offer after the season… may be doubtful given the potential cost.

    • They would have done so by now, if that was their intentions….(or his intentions)….

  14. Also if getting more prospects it would mean a for another trade or the Pirates will be in a position of not being able to protect the players they need to.

  15. I think a fair ask given the higher prices being set for relief pitchers (and starters) should be Lopez from the Nationals. He’s a top 100 prospect, ready to jump on the major league roster right now, but he’s not Giolito and is like 3 or 4th best prospect.

  16. This is the reality of a small market franchise. Sometimes valuable pieces need to be moved even when it hurts for a couple of months. Speaking of top 50 prospects, how about Reynaldo Lopez (MLB #49)? He’s already made a spot start (with gruesome results) but has a live arm and should be fully ready by the end of next year.

    • I’m in no way for dumping players everytime we get close. If we we had about 3 more wins right now i would hope they wouldn’t consider it. At this point we could move people around and it may not even hurt us this year. We shouldn’t short sell ourselves either. Considering it’s a big seller market if the return is big enough go for it.

  17. No idea who’s right, but there is a discrepancy between Tim’s projected haul for MM and the guys at MLBTR…their assumption is not someone around #50, but someone at the backend of the Top 100. Again, no idea who is correct…so long as it isn’t Lastings Milledge, I say go for it.

    • C’mon Lastings Thrilledge was the man……. in the 9th inning of that one game he made the great diving catch at the wall……. 🙂

      • Yep, his 15 minutes of fame in a Bucco uniform. No offense to Milledge personally, but he was terrible. I think even Brandon Wood had more shining moments for the Bucs than Milledge.

  18. If it could result in Reynaldo Lopez to add another potential ace to Cole/Taillon/Glasnow, I would do it in a heartbeat.

    • I’d also do Melancon for these guys, plus one or 2 lower level guys:
      Giants – Phil Bickford, RHP, #67 Overall
      Rangers – Yohander Mendez, LHP, #69 Overall
      Dodgers – Grant Holmes, RHP, #84 Overall

  19. Just a quick FYI, for his career, Watson is 5-for-21 in save opportunities. Yes, that’s 5 saves and 16 blown saves. Yes, he has a career 25-11 W-L and 147 holds, but he doesn’t seem to like the 9th inning very much.

    So you’d be dealing with essentially “promoting” Feliz over Watson and risking some bad juju in the pen. That is, if you went with Feliz, who’s 1-for-3 in save opportunities this year and was 4-for-8 with the Tigers last year.

    No matter how this is spun, it’s a downgrade and perhaps a significant one. We’re gonna want to see a lot of 3-4 run leads in the 9th going forward without MM.

    If the Nats weren’t moving any of their younger prospects for Chapman, they won’t for MM, so no Fedde, Ross or Robles, certainly not Giolito. Possible the Bucs might take a flyer on AJ Cole I suppose, although his upside these days is at best a 3 and more likely a 4. But you can’t have too much pitching, right?

    • Just so you know, relief pitchers get tagged with a blown save even if it happened before the 9th inning, so pulling out Watson’s “save percentage” is grossly misleading.

        • Probably so, but not nearly a big enough one to avoid pulling the trigger if someone is willing to give the Pirates a really nice piece or two.

          Really, where the biggest concern about a downgrade would be is the 7th inning.

        • Agreed. If the Nats really felt this way, the deal would have already taken place, because the Yankees would be nuts to turn it down. But who knows.

          • If this goes down the Pirates should outbid everyone for Chapman next year in free agency and then trade him next July. Except I think Chapman is kind of a terrible person. So maybe sign an Andrew Miller equivalent to a multi year deal, use him for half a year and then flip him for a front line starting prospect. Like they did with Jeff Suppan but instead of getting Mike Gonzalez, you’re getting a Lucas Giolito.

    • This is exactly right. I don’t think Watson profiles as a great closer. And Feliz hasn’t been pitching as well as he was earlier in year.

    • That statistic is misleading. All it means is that in the 8th inning, in the last 3+ years, Watson has allowed the game to be tied. That counts as a blown save. He very rarely has pitched the 9th inning, which is where you chalk up saves.

  20. Pirates have the best farm in baseball….Go after Hellickson, they can certainly get him without giving up any of the big 3. Hector Santiago would be a decent 5th starter, offer Alen Hanson, as LAA is desperate for an MLB ready 2Bmen and another mid-level guy and Jeff Locke. Trading Melancon for a bunch of prospects is silly….Is Huntington thinking he who dies with the best prospects wins? Time to make some moves here, they’re not that far away. Also, trade Jaso for a warm body, eat some salary if necessary. Bell is a game changer with the bat, spare me the defense, it’s not like he’s Alvarez out there and they have good late inning defensive options.

    • Brandon Cumpton is probably a better 5th starter than Santiago. C’mon. The guy was worse than Locke & Niese for a good part of the season. And he still sucks – plus has plenty of room for further negative regression.

      • Brandon Cumpton? Worse than Locke and Niese for a better part of the year? He has a 4.28 ERA and k’s 8 per 9….For his career, he has an era of 3.68 and 8.1 k’s per 9. The HR’s you would assume would go down, with him being a lefty in PNC.

        • fWAR has him equal to Locke at 3.3 WAR over their careers (6 seasons), with Niese at 10.3 WAR over that time.
          bWAR likes Santiago better, 7.7 WAR to Niese’s 6.8 and Locke’s 0.0.
          Pick your poison.

          • ERA is the true indicator, that is earned runs averaged per 9 innings….The rest of the stuff is hiding the true era. He has a better era and better k’s per 9.

  21. If we can get a top 50 prospect for him (and we should given the market) I would do it in a heart beat.

  22. Where is Ken Rosenthal getting his information? That last statement sounds like it came directly from The Pirates’ front office.

  23. I think we do trade Melancon seeing the haul these pitchers are getting this year. That being said, this strategy only works if Huntington has the guts to trade some of these assets in the offseason for reliable, solid starting pitching. No reclamation projects. Having the best minor league system is a nice accomplishment but doesn’t win the world series. Just like winning the President’s cup in hockey is meaningless if you do not win the Stanley Cup.

  24. If pirates dont trade him they need to offer a 17$M QO just to negotiate w him on a deal. If they trade him they can offer him a reasonable long term deal after the season. No brainer trade him. He’s gone either way and it’s time to see if Watson or someone else (maybe aquired in same trade) who will be here next year, can close.

    • Not true. The Pirates can negotiate with Melancon even without making a QO. They can continue negotiating even after the QO deadline passes. They have a window of exclusivity following the season, before the QO deadline. They can offer him an extension during the season.

      If they trade Melancon, the acquiring team gets that exclusive negotiating window and could extend him before his contract expires.

      If the hope is to have Mark Melancon back for 2017, you absolutely do NOT trade him.

    • Yeah the only reason to offer a qualifying offer is to get draft help if you lose him. But the teams that would pick him up would not be teams you would get draft help from and very rarely if ever do you see that with a RP. Starting pitcher then yes your point is very valid.

  25. So we should be able to get a Kevin Newman type for him? That would seem to be worth it. But perception wise, it would have to be partnered with a second trade that brings in a reliable starter

    • I agree with this sentiment completely. I think for the sake of the clubhouse and the fanbase this needs to be done with at least one other trade that changes the dynamics of the starting rotation. I think that this dynamic will make trading MM complicated and more difficult.

  26. I’m not sure why Tim keeps saying the Pirates chances of contending are low….2.5 games out of the WC, very favorable schedule coming up and they’ve won 15 of their last 22.

    • Because he is looking past the WC game. That is where I am not sure as the team stands right now today that we can compete. 5 games against either Cubs, Nats, or Giants, our record against those teams this year does not make us look like contenders in the NL.

    • Contending is more than just the WC game. Contending is winning the World Series. Can this pitching staff hold up against the Cubs, Nats or Dodgers/Giants in a 5 or 7 game series? The answer is no. Getting to the WC game and losing or winning is not contending.

    • I’m talking about making a run in the playoffs as well. I’m not saying they have no shot at the WC, but even if they do make the WC and win, they don’t have the starting pitching to do well in a five or seven game series.

      • ….unless they make trades to upgrade the rotation. Hellickson would be a huge addition and he wouldn’t cost any of the big 3.

        • Honestly I doubt it. I think it will cost us a good piece they will look at our farm system and try and maximize their return.

          • Pirates have the 3-4 prospects to get Hellickson, without including Bell, Glasnow, Meadows or Newman. Maybe one of the catchers, Ramirez, Tucker and an A-ball player with upside (Polo) ? That might get the Phillies at least interested.

      • In 2005 the Steelers lost three games on a row to fall to 7-5. At that point they needed to win all 4 of their remaining regular season games to make the playoffs as a 6th seed. And then to get to the Super Bowl they would have to win three straight road playoff games. Nobody thought that it was possible. Of course it was possible because they went on to won Super Bowl XL. The fact is that championships can happen when you least expect them, which is why I absolutely detest the whole no point even trying argument that Tim is making.

        • Why do people want to try and compare a story from the NHL and the NFL. The sports are different. You can not compare a team coming together like the 2005 Steelers who just needed time to gel. Nor the 15/16 Penguins who changed coaches halfway through the season and changed their entire game plan. Baseball is a completely different game. Less about plays, and formations and more about individual player performance I hate to say it. Yes Cole can pitch lights out the rest of the year. Liriano can become the 13 strikeout guy every time Cutch can play like he did the other night every game all those things can happen and then yes we can win the WS. But that’s way too many ifs. Sorry you have to be realistic.

          • Last year the Pirates went 80-42 in their last 122 games. This year, even with all the negative things that have happened, the Pirates are 18-9 in their past 27 games which is .667 baseball. And 14 of those 27 games were against NL teams that have better records than the Pirates. After wandering in the darkness for 20 years we finally have a team which has the internal fortitude of a winner. As Cole said after the game the other night, they are dangerous. It would be a tragedy not to allow such a team every possible opportunity to win a championship.

            • Well as dangerous as they may be they were just swept by the helpless Brewers an the lack of Mark Melancon had nothing to do with it. SO….. Again the team has yet to show it can win consistently like last years team etc…

          • It was realistic 2 years ago when the Giants with one decent pitchef, won the w.c. On the road and proceeded to shock the world.

          • Neither do I. But at least I would give the Pirates every opportunity to win the World Series this season, which is something you wouldn’t do.

  27. Serious question – do you think the Nats would part with either Reynoldo Lopez or Erick Fedde? Because these are two (I believe) mid to back end top 100 prospects. This is the type of return I would hope for with regards to Melancon.

    • It’s a very good question. I’d love Lopez, but I’m not sure if his stock has gone up with a good showing in AA this year (can’t be bothered to run down the midseason prospect lists at the moment). He’s not far away from the bigs, either – he did make a spot start earlier but he’s only had a few starts above AA. Still, definitely the kind of return for Melancon that makes me salivate a bit.

        • He’s #48 on Baseball America’s list and #49 on MLB Pipeline. That’s a top 50 prospect. If you think he can be a middle of the rotation arm for the next 6 and a half years you have to make this deal.

  28. Trading Melancon or losing him at year-end for nothing in FA ARE NOT the only options. They could elect to bring him back on a new deal.

    I sincerely hope this FO doesn’t fall victim to this misguided belief that trading Melancon will not signal the end of any chance to win this year, and strengthen their chances in future years.

    What’s wrong with trying to win today and tomorrow? They’re not mutually exclusive.

    • Yes very true. I am going to try and remember this because I can see it now. This winter when we don’t win the NL, and then lose Melancon in FA how many people and in some cases the same people will all be jumping up and down saying. That is why the Pirates should have traded him back in July.

      • I will never say we should have traded MM. Watson or Feliz could be lights out down the stretch but that would not make me feel any better about any trade haul Melancan brings. The only way I would be OK with the MM trade is if the player we get back eventually makes a pair of All Star games. Only at that time will I be OK with the trade.

  29. Is there any chance of getting a MLB starter in a Melancon swap, or would this definitely be for a prospect if they move him?

    • I could see it. Maybe a position player that was in a platoon situation. Or possibly someone like Dan Vogelbach who was in AAA but blocked by Rizzo for essentially forever. So I’m not saying that would be great value but you could conceivably get a AAA guy that’s close to major league ready that’s blocked by a superstar thus making him expendable.

        • Oh. Then I would say no I suppose because no team really has 6 good starters and no closer where they could trade one for the other. You could get a AA or AAA starter who’s possibly close. Maybe a middle of the rotation guy?

    • You have to think about what kind of team is dealing for a rental reliever (A: team that wants to contend for the world series), and ask yourself whether such a team would trade away a starter.

      The chances are remote. You could use those guys for the stretch run.

      • I hear you. Possible a team has a surplus of backend rotation guys, one of which is better than one of our rookie options. But I realize not likely.

  30. I’m more concerned about the players reaction than the fans. But realistically NH would have to be “blown away” correct? And for the record I’d be ok with dealing Melancon.

  31. Um yeah, I’m not expecting Feliz and Watson moving into 8/9 however you split it up working real well. And who is pitching 7th.. Nicasio, Caminero, Hughes?

    And that’s not getting into a start where a guys goes 5 and a third

  32. This has been my biggest point. To me Melancon is the only trade piece that does not end our contention this year. We still have both Feliz and Watson there are still players who have and can be closers in our staff. Feliz was at one time the top Closer in the league. If you get a “GOOD” return then do it.

    • I agree. It does weaken the bullpen, but it is the least detrimental piece to move given that you now have Locke, Niese, and Vogelsong to fill the middle innings if you push Feliz and Watson back an inning.

      • so you are going to give away the game in the middle innings with the trio of five-sixers – not going to matter who closes if you throw niese/locke/vogelsong in the middle

        • Well, if the middle inning guys are getting innings, then that means your starters are only going 5 and you’re already in trouble anyway. I think Nicasio/Feliz/Watson can handle 7/8/9 and you fill in the gap when necessary with the guys I mentioned. Locke actually isn’t looking to bad out of the bullpen. I think he gets tired in the second half as a starter but may still be effective in shorter doses. Plus, in all likelihood, they’d get a middle relief guy in the return package as well.

    • Melancon is probably the only valuable trade piece that doesn’t end our contention. I can think of others that might signal that we are serious if they are traded (the lefty starting pitcher of your choice, lefty first baseman or a veteran pitcher on the 60 day DL).

    • May sound logical to some, but in reality it turns the Closer role over to either a lefty who has never been in the role, or one who flamed out badly the last time he was in it. Furthermore, it adds question marks to 7th inning the team currently doesn’t have.

      All in the name of what? Wait till next year?

      • Caminero, Hughes, and Nicasio, even Schlugel can all pitch in the 7th and have pitched in the 7th. Watson has closed some already in his career. You said wait until next year what Guarantee is there Melancon comes back he is a free agent this year.

        • Melancon won’t be back Ron. But I don’t want Caminero, Hughes or Schugel pitching in 7th. That is huge drop from Feliz.

          The whole idea of getting Soria last year was so we could stop running out mediocre options in 7th inning.

          If they trade MM it better be for serious haul.

          • Fair enough. I do think Nicasio slots well in the 7th. He has very good stuff just after he goes through the lineup once its not as strong. But I don’t know what the guarantee is he comes back next year.

        • You’re right, there’s no guarantee Pirates don’t lose MM for nothing next year, but by trading him now, you all but guarantee you lose this year.

          Our farm system is already loaded. How about trying to win now and letting prospects & FA acquisitions take care of holes in next year’s team?

          • Exactly – how many more prospects do you need at this point – when are the bucs going to all in and go after a year…we had the prospects to get chapman – imagine our backend with chapman in the 9th, melancon in the 8th, watson in the 7th and feliz in the 6th…plus you get chapman out of the cubs hands….

        • Feliz has a slider that come in at 85mph against his fastball of 97. That would be an outpitch. Watson uses his changeup more. That’s how they get their outs. Feliz was compared to Mariano Rivera at one point. He dealt with injuries last couple seasons but seems to have rebounded.

          • The Nationals are already saying who they will not trade for BP help, but If we are going to make the trade and want a decent return, they may look to get their #5 Prospect Erick Fedde, 23, RHSP, and #14 Koda Glover, 23, a RHSP who has been Closing Games this year.

        • Agree with emjayinTN. Melencon’s out pitch is a knuckle curve he learned from Mariano Riviera when he was a Yankee.
          I wonder why he cannot ‘teach’ that pitch to other Pirate pitchers.

    • Trading Melancon means they are giving up on the season, regardless of how you hard you try to spin that inconvenient truth. We already have 6 top 100 prospects, what is the point of getting another at the cost of an entire season?

      • No it really isn’t even the big time reporters have agreed on this so its not just my opinion and Tim’s opinion many teams have made moves like this in the past. When you have someone like Feliz and Watson who can do what you need, if you can trade for a better chance at your future its still worthwhile. Melancon in himself does not win us the WS. He can help but him being here or not being here is not the one key player that gets it all done. And the reason for getting another, if we were at the point that just adding a Chris Sale would get us the WS this year which we aren’t. Adding another top 100 prospect lessens that blow perhaps next year so we go from 7 to say 4 top 100 vs 6 down to 3. May not seem like much but it helps boost your future.

            • Because the window for contention is open NOW! You close it for this season by trading away your most reliable arm!

              • I thought the whole point was to NOT have a window?? Getting rid of a reliever in their last year and getting something out of it, like our trade to Boston for MM, is the exact thing we SHOULD be doing (thought it should have happened over the offseason). We need to get out from under these people when their value is high and cash in.

              • So our window is this year. That’s it. Wow!!!! Guess we should trade Marte, Cole, and everyone because this year was our only chance……

            • Because since the start of the 2014 season, Melancon has the most saves in baseball. Teams that are serious about trying to win a championship do not trade guys like that away at the trade deadline.

          • I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that the Pirates won’t trade Melancon but I do believe this. If the Pirates don’t believe that they have a chance at advancing far into the post-season and they feel they have no chance at re-signing Melancon then they in all likelihood should trade him and maximixe the return they get for him. Yes, they could keep him for the remainder of the season and then make a qualifying offer to him, which he would likely refuse, meaning that there would be draft pick compensation attached to him signing elsewhere this off-season. My question is this. Do you feel that Melancon has become an elite closer since he’s been with the Pirates. When I say elite closer, I’m talking Mariano Rivera type, who did it for years and years with the same team. Granted, those were some really great teams he played for. I can remember just a few years ago people were up in arms that the Pirates traded Hanrahan for Melancon. Or is it finally time for the Pirates to develop their own closer, something they have failed to do over the past few years. The last ones that I can recall they developed were Mike Gonzalez (traded to Atlanta for Adam LaRoche) and Matt Capps. They’ve pretty much have young talent everywhere else except at the closer position. Maybe if one of the starting pitching prospects doesn’t pan out as a starter, they convert him to a relief pitcher / closer. To me, that seems to be the direction the Pirates seem to be heading towards. And making a Melancon trade isn’t the end of the world. The Pirates made due with Joel Hanrahan and sold high on him, which netted them Melancon. They bought low on Grilli and when he began faltering, they had Melancon waiting in the wings. The only problem I see is that they don’t have either Melancon or Feliz locked up beyond this year. I’m not too keen on having a LHP (Watson) as your closer. I know the Pirates did it a few years ago with Gonzalez. I’m not saying that he couldn’t do the job. I’m just saying that for the most part it pretty much goes against the traditional closer role that the Pirates have employed in recent memory.

      • The problem I see is, what do you do next year? MM won’t get a QO (16m) and I don’t think he’ll get anything over 12m a year. We can’t go into me T year paying big bucks, plus young players for a top of the line closer. Even though MM doesn’t throw hard, he doesn’t get hit hard.

        I wonder if we could extend him for 33-36 m for 3years.

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