In 2016, the trade deadline was coming up and Washington was in the driver’s seat for the NFC East. Needing a closer, the Washington Nationals traded for Mark Melancon who settled in nicely in the nation’s capital. In 30 games with the Nats, Melancon went 1-1, with a 1.89 ERA, 27 strikeouts, and a 2.07 FIP, while going 17 for 18 in save opportunities. Unfortunately, Melancon left in free agency to sign with the Giants on a four-year deal worth $64 million. Melancon never flourished with the Giants, battling injuries and inconsistencies. After two and a half years with San Fransisco, they shipped him out to Atlanta where a change of scenery helped him immensely. In a year and a half with the Braves, Melancon went 3-1, with a 3.30 ERA, 14 strikeouts, and a 3.72 FIP, while going 22 for 24 in save opportunities.
At the age of 35, Melancon’s time as an elite closer has come to an end, but he is still a dependable reliever. Washington’s bullpen lacks consistency, with Tanner Rainey being the only true constant. Melancon would immediately add another late innings option who can thrive in high-pressure situations. Melancon does not strike out many, instead, he flourishes with his high ground ball rate. Opposing hitters also struggle to square him. After Daniel Hudson and Will Harris, both took a step back in 2020, Washington will need another solid option in the bullpen.