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MLB Rumors: Pittsburgh Pirates may get rid of their closer

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Within the last week, Mark Melancon has been drawing some interest from teams after Aroldis Chapman was traded to the Cubs. He is drawing interest from the Nationals and others teams as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sport. Washington is known to want to strengthen their bullpen and help the recent implosion of Jonathan Papelbon. He has surrounded seven earned runs in his past three appearances which is one inning.

Melancon, 31, is earning $9.6 MM in his final year prior to hitting the open market. A three-time All-Star with the Pirates, he has an ERA of 1.51 in 41 2/3 innings this season, he averages 8.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 to balance his ground-ball rate of 48.2%. The idea of Pittsburgh wanting to trade their closer may sound weird at first, but there’s some logic behind the idea.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are budget conscious and may be wary of extending a qualifying offer to him during the off-season in which he will be turning 32 years old and will face competition with the likes of Aroldis Chapman and Kenly Jansen who are also expected to test the free agency pool this off-season. If you look beyond the idea of losing Melancon for nothing is not something that is sounding well to Pirates GM Neath Huntington and his staff. So it would make a bit of sense for teams looking for bullpen help to at least see if the Pirates would be willing to entertain the possibility.

With all of that being said, there is no indication as to how willing the Pirates are ready to want to part with their closer. The team does possess an excellent setup man in Tony Watson and a bundle of young arms that could shift to the bullpen late in the season to limit their rising inning totals. However, if you subtract Melancon from that bullpen, it would weaken the club as it tries to secure a playoff spot. If Melancon is made available, the teams that have been linked to needed bullpen help include the Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Indians, Rangers, and Giants ( The Indians seem more focused on a lefty, and an inter- division trade with the Cardinals seems unlikely).

The trade deadline is August 1st at 4 pm. So there is still some time for something to possibly happen.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]