MLB Rumors: Mark Melancon Free Agency Advancing
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With a new collective bargaining agreement in place and the annual Winter Meetings a mere two days from beginning, the MLB Hot Stove is primed to heat up. That should bode well for closers Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon.

The trio are the top relievers on the open market, with Chapman and Jansen atop the list. Although Melancon generally tends to fall behind the duo, the right-hander himself enjoyed another strong season and is in position to sign a lucrative, long-term contract.

By virtue of being traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates in August, Melancon was not eligible to be extended the one-year qualifying offer.

Thus, he not only can be signed by any team without the risk of that club losing a draft pick, but Melancon is expected to be a cost-efficient alternative to Chapman and Jansen.

According to
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick
, the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals are in pursuit of Melancon, who may receive a four-year contract:

The Nationals were recently reported as being ‘committed’ to signing Chapman, Jansen or Melancon. While the Dodgers’ preference is presumably re-signing Jansen, financial factors may prevent that from becoming a reality.

Los Angeles reportedly discussed a trade with the Pirates for Melancon, and are thought to still have the 31-year-old on their radar.

Melancon finished the season with a combined 47 saves, 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and 0.89 WHIP. He earned All-Star Game honors for a third time in his career.

Melancon figures to sign a contract that exceeds the four-year, $50 million Jonathan Papelbon received from the Philadelphia Phillies in November 2011, which set the record for a relief pitcher.