RE-SIGN MELANCON OR EQUIVALENT
When the Nationals realized Jonathan Papelbon was not pitching well enough to be trusted, they kicked the tires on several potential closers before scoring Mark Melancon from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the non-waiver trade deadline.
Melancon saved 17 games in 30 regular season appearances with an ERA of 1.81 and tossed 4.1 scoreless innings in the playoffs. He did everything that was asked and deserves the chance at 31 to close for the Nats the next few years. Inspired by how Andrew Miller shut down the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays for Cleveland in the playoffs, he expressed an interest in trying the same role.
The money is there to keep Melancon as we see who can establish themselves as the dependable setup man. With three consecutive years as a top-notch closer under his belt, he has the confidence to handle the job during those tough mid-summer stretches and in October when it counts most.
Yes, with Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman about to hit the open market, there will be calls to land one of them. Melancon, because of his status, will sign for more than the $9.65 million he made this year. To keep him, Washington may need to double it to retain him.
They know what they have in Melancon. How much of a premium to they pay to keep their insurance policy.
If he leaves, then they must pay for one of the other big names on the board. Closer is not a position they can experiment with next spring.