D-backs add 4-time all-star reliever Melancon on 2-year contract


FILE - San Diego Padres relief pitcher Mark Melancon looks for a sign during the team's baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on July 9, 2021, in San Diego.  The Arizona Diamondbacks took action to shore up their relieving box back Wednesday, Dec. 1, adding four-time All-Star Melancon on a two-year, $ 14 million contract.  (AP Photo / Derrick Tuskan, file)

FILE – San Diego Padres relief pitcher Mark Melancon looks for a sign during the team’s baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on July 9, 2021, in San Diego. The Arizona Diamondbacks took action to shore up their relieving box back Wednesday, Dec. 1, adding four-time All-Star Melancon on a two-year, $ 14 million contract. (AP Photo / Derrick Tuskan, file)

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The Arizona Diamondbacks decided to consolidate their backyard on Wednesday, adding four-time All-Star Mark Melancon to a two-year contract worth $ 14 million.

Now the D-backs must be good enough to provide Melancon with games to save.

Right-hander Melancon, who turns 37 on day one, led the majors with 39 saves last year in his only season with the San Diego Padres. He was 4-3 and a 2.23 ERA to earn his first All-Star appearance since 2016.

The Melancon deal also has a mutual option for 2024.

The D-backs struggled all over the roster last season, finishing 52-110, but a poor reliever box was one of the worst problems. Almost every spot will be up for grabs next season, although leftovers like Joe Mantiply, JB Wendelken and Caleb Smith are prime contenders for relief.

Arizona didn’t have much of a lead to protect last season in the ninth inning. All the pitching staff combined for 22 saves.

Melancon said he believes this will change quickly. The veteran threw against the Diamondbacks – who were division rivals with the Padres in the NL West – eight times last season and said it was a tough group to face.

“It’s hard to see when you just look at the paper, but when you face these guys and try to get them out, that’s another story,” Melancon said. “I got to see it firsthand. I am very confident in this group.

Melancon will almost certainly be the closest to the team. He played at college in Arizona and has 244 career saves over a well-traveled 13-year MLB career that includes time with the Pirates, Giants, Braves, Yankees, Astros, Red Sox, the Padres and the Nationals.

“He’s a proven bullpen player,” Arizona general manager Mike Hazen said. “We talked at the start of the offseason about wanting to rebuild our enclosure. It was a major problem for us last year. … having a guy there was important to us.

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