Padres, reliever Melancon finalize deal

February 18th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- As they set out to overhaul their roster this offseason, the Padres quickly upgraded their rotation and their offense with a flurry of big moves in December.

But the goal was always to build a complete roster that could compete with the Dodgers in the National League West. That left the Padres' bullpen as the lone area that needed to be addressed, and they did so on Thursday.

San Diego has agreed with 35-year-old right-hander on a one-year deal, the club announced. News of the deal first broke late last week.

Across 12 big league seasons, Melancon owns a 2.85 ERA and a 2.90 FIP. He's coming off a strong season in Atlanta, in which he posted a 2.78 ERA over 23 appearances.

Melancon also brings a wealth of postseason experience, having reached the playoffs six times with a 3.72 ERA in 20 games.

The addition of Melancon solidifies an already strong bullpen -- but one that features a few question marks. As things stand, Emilio Pagán and Drew Pomeranz are poised to compete for the closer's role (and potentially share it).

Behind those two, the Padres have a host of arms who could seize high-leverage middle-innings roles. It's unclear who will do so. Melancon seems ticketed for precisely that role, and he should serve as a much-needed right-handed option in a lefty-heavy bullpen.

Melancon's presence also creates a bit of a logjam for roster spots in the San Diego 'pen. Here's a list of Padres relievers who can't freely be optioned to the Minor Leagues: Melancon, Pomeranz, Austin Adams, Craig Stammen, Pierce Johnson, Javy Guerra and Dan Altavilla.

Beyond that group, Pagán is a lock, and both Matt Strahm and Tim Hill are likely to anchor bullpen spots. That list also doesn't include high-upside young arms like José Castillo, Adrian Morejon, Ryan Weathers and Michel Baez.

That's 14 players for, at most, eight or nine bullpen places. The Padres wanted serious competition for relief roles -- and they suddenly have it.

They also wanted to build a complete roster with very few holes to compete with the Dodgers. San Diego just might have built that, too.