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MLB Today: Giants Solve Closer Issue with Mark Melancon

December 9, 2016 | By RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Mark Melancon takes over as closer of the San Francisco Giants.
Mark Melancon (left) will provide the Giants with a more reliable ninth inning specialist. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

The San Francisco Giants came away from the Winter Meetings having shored up a weak spot in 2016 — the back end of their bullpen.

By signing Mark Melancon to a four-year, $62-million deal — the largest ever given to a reliever (for about five seconds, until Aroldis Chapman’s deal) — the Giants have solved an issue that really cost them this year as they blew 30 saves and nine times lost a lead in the ninth inning.

In recent seasons, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo seemed to have taken turns as the closer in San Francisco, and while Casilla held the post nearly all of last season, he suffered his most losses since 2012 and had his highest ERA since 2009.

Romo missed a good chunk of the season with an elbow injury, so he was babied even more than usual by the Giants this year, and is now a free agent, expected to sign elsewhere (possibly with the Yankees).

Hunter Strickland had long been considered the closer of the future in San Francisco, but he really struggled when given a chance to earn saves, and he was easier to hit last year than ever before.

So enter Melancon, who — unlike Chapman — was willing to pitch in California despite its tax laws. This year, Melancon ranked second in the NL in saves, and the thing we love about him is he’s a rare closer that’s capable of working as many games as a top setup man. He’s been a durable workhorse that simply doesn’t need to blow away hitters to be successful. No, Melancon will not rack up elite strikeout numbers, but when factoring in his saves, ERA and WHIP, you’re talking about a consistent top notch Fantasy asset, and one capable of helping himself defensively (see video below).

Just check out this dude’s WHIP marks since 2013: 0.96; 0.87; 0.93; 0.90. That’s some studly consistency, leading to nearly 100 saves over the past two years combined.

In other news…

  • St. Louis has signed Dexter Fowler, shifting the balance in the NL Central a smidge. He earned his ring in Chicago and then moves to its biggest rival to solve the Cardinals’ issue at centre field. With Fowler taking over as leadoff hitter, Matt Carpenter is expected to shift to the three hole, where he’ll likely be a much greater source of RBI.
  • Still in the NL Central, the Pirates’ efforts to trade star Andrew McCutchen away failed at the Winter Meetings. It’s looking likely now that he’ll still be in Steel City when the 2017 season kicks off. It sounded like a deal to Washington was really close, but the Nats instead dealt for Adam Eaton.
  • Boston kept up its acquisition spree by signing first baseman Mitch Moreland, who will split the first base job with Hanley Ramirez. H-Ram will likely spend most of his time at DH, taking over for the retired David Ortiz, but periodically playing first base. This really helps upgrade the BoSox defense considering Moreland won the Gold Glove this year. The fact he’s always hit well at Fenway (.341 in 14 games) doesn’t hurt.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below whether you think adding Melancon puts the Giants over the top in the NL West.

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MLB Today: The Closer Waiting Game is Over

December 8, 2016 | By RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
We missed this item about a month ago, but it’s nice to see former big leaguer Phil Nevin moving up in the coaching ranks. After spending the last three years managing the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A squad in Reno to a 227-205 mark, he was hired as the new third base coach by the San Francisco Giants. It’s great to witness the former college punter/placekicker (yes, that’s right) getting closer to taking a run at a big league managerial position with this move.
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Blu-ray Review: Suicide Squad Extended Edition

December 7, 2016 | By Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Attempting to mix character development, plot cohesion, fan service, attitude, humor and action all into one film proves an impossible task for Ayer, and the result is some pacing issues. The film’s first 30 or so minutes is almost like a big montage, introducing everyone, followed by an immediate crisis that forces the task force into action.
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The Wire Troll: Bryan Little Coming up Big

December 4, 2016 | By Dakota Case | Comments Comments Off
Stalberg has always been more of a “meat and potatoes” role player, but could the offense be coming to life for him? Maybe. He has just seven goals on the season, but he potted four of them last week. Proceed with caution.
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The Wire Troll: Andrew Harrison Running the Show in Memphis

December 3, 2016 | By Adrian Wallace | Comments Comments Off
Lamb is bouncing back from a hamstring injury, but isn’t letting up when given the minutes. He’s an all-around the board producer, working for a steady role in the rotation, and is only 24 years old. Give Lamb a look if you’re seeking some sporadic contributions in your deep league.
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