Pirates closer Mark Melancon is available in trade talks, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The 30-year-old is coming off of a huge 2015 season in which he saved 51 games and sported a 2.23 ERA. Melancon is entering his third year of arbitration, with the closer being set up for free agency following the 2016 season.
While there aren't a ton of closers available via free agency, the trade market for these lockdown arms is beginning to heat up. Besides Melancon, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman is out there along with Craig Kimbrel (Padres) and Andrew Miller (Yankees).
That list doesn't include Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen, who Washington may be forced to move. It seems that as more days pass, another closer/reliever becomes available.
Kimbrel and Chapman will require a massive return, leaving Melancon as a secondary alternative for teams like the Diamondbacks or the Yankees, two teams that talked to the Reds about Chapman before the July 31 trade deadline.
While it's a surprise that the Pirates would make their closer available while still competing for a World Series, making him available doesn't guarantee that they will move him. They could gauge the interest in Melancon and may only move him if the price is right.
What this news does do, however, is complicate the reliever market for both free agents and potential trade targets. This will drive the price up to sign relievers or trade for one, making the hot stove even more hotter.