Giants exploring all closing options
First off, after seeing the Cubs win it, I'm sure we all immediately wondered what would have happened had the Giants landed Andrew Miller or Mark Melancon at the deadline themselves. They likely aren't even facing the Cubs in round one but if they still did, they likely win game 4 and who knows what happens game 5 with Cueto in Chicago? Anyway, that's all done and over with and no use bantering on about the past and what could have been when such an important offseason awaits for the Giants. They wasted no time at all getting things going and kicking the tires on the free agents they intend on pursuing over the next 6+ weeks. They inquired with all three of the big closers (Melancon, Kenly Jansen and Aroldis Chapman) and apparently have even reached out to outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who opted out of his final 2 years and $50+ million from the Mets. And I'm pretty sure they came away with one general consensus, and that it won't be cheap at all to upgrade their current roster.
There are whispers that Chapman is seeking something in the 5 year/$100M range, and with Kenley Jansen being not only younger but I'm sure most would agree, more effective than Chapman, you can only imagine what his asking price will be. I've heard 6 years/$140M wouldn't be too far fetched of an asking price for the 27 year-old which leaves Mark Melancon as the the cheapest and most attainable. That being said, hes 31 and doesn't necessarily posses that dominant stuff that Jansen does or the 103 MPH heater that Chapman does, but is pretty damn nasty in his own right. Melancon has posted sub-2 ERA's in 3 of the last 4 seasons and a 2.28 in the other, combining for a 0.90 WHIP. All he did in 2016, split between Pittsburgh and Washington was post 51 saves to go along with a 1.64 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 65:12 K/BB ratio and only 3 long balls allowed in 77 innings of work. That last part would be such a re-assurance after Santiago Casilla seemed to be giving up a jack every other time out. That being said, he doesn't strike out a batter an inning, which is something you really want out of your closer- someone that can get an out when they really need it by throwing the ball by hitters. However, he posses a four-pitch repertoire which many closers do not, un-hittable at times bit curveball.
So after preliminary talks with all three of the elite closing options, Melancon emerges as the most logical and plausible fit for the Giants, according to MLB's website. Unlike Jansen and Chapman, I haven't really heard a number that Melancon is supposedly reporting, but after seeing what the two under-30's are seeking, a 3/4 year deal at $15M may be what it's gonna take to get Melancon. I mean, after him we're talking a huge drop-off, down to Francisco Rodriguez and the Tommy John reconstructed Greg Holland. I mean, Holland could be good, but these Giants need a sure fire bet and aren't really in position to roll the dice on a Holland unless they're 110% sure he's not only physically sound, but also going to be as sharp as before the injury.
As far as the outfielders, the only name so far to be mentioned, and likely the only free agent outfielder the Giants may seriously pursue this winter has been Cespedes. Mark Trumbo won't be coming here. Jose Bautista, unless for some reason sees the Giants as his best road to a tittle and wants to come here for a short-term deal before going back to the AL to DH for good, isn't coming here. Ian Desmond could be a back-up plan but isn't that big time power hitting bat the Giants are seeking and hasn't been great in his move to the outfield, leading all of MLB in errors among outfielders in 2016. Angel Pagan isn't coming back and there aren't really any other options that jump out at you in the free agent market. One interesting scenario mentioned on ESPN would be the Giants going after the other Dodger big free agent, Justin Turner, and playing him at third for 2017 while moving Eduardo Nunez into left field on a full-time basis. I don't really see that one happening but like they said in the article, the Giants will look for any way possible to lengthen that lineup and preferably a for guy who's capable of putting one in the seats on a semi-regular basis.
The trade route may very well be the best way in order to do so if they don't wanna give Cespedes 120 million or whatever he's gonna want. J.D. Martinez is one guy who could be a target, but again, anyone like that and worth trading for is going to cost the Giants heavily in terms of farm talent and they're in a bit of a shortage after dealing away a good chunk of them in July. Sure they still have Beede, Stratton, Blach, Arroyo, Shaw and Slater but that's about it. Plus none of those guys, really aside from maybe Arroyo, Beede and Slater, would be enough to headline a deal and if your talking J.D. Martinez, your probably looking at giving up at least two out of that bunch.
It's time to get ready for things to heat up though, as a couple free agents (Kendrys Morales and Bartolo Colon) have wasted no time in finding new homes and my guess is the Giants find their new closer sooner than later. The outfield situation may take a month or two to play out but I do expect them to show more urgency as far as their next 9th inning guy, and if I were to bet on who that would be I'd say Melancon on a 4 year, $60 million deal, or thereabouts.