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Rockies rumors: Colorado interested in Mark Melancon, Mike Dunn

After lacking any elite late inning relief last season, the Rockies are looking to improve upon a weakness.

MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies are looking at adding some late inning relief and could be interested in signing Mark Melancon according to Rockies’ general manager Jeff Bridich. While Bridich was candid about his plans with Melancon, he also brought up an interest in Mike Dunn in an interview with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

The Rockies’ bullpen didn’t rank terribly among National League teams last season. By park-adjusted FIP, they ranked 10th. It’s difficult to pin down the true value of relief that plays the majority of their games at Coors Field though.

After adding Jake McGee and Jason Motte last season, the Rockies bullpen was supposed to be better. Instead though, McGee and Motte failed to live up to expectations, and the Rockies bullpen floundered around the same value as the Giants’ by FanGraphs’ WAR.

Bridich remained coy in his interview with Saunders about his intentions with Melancon, only really committing to the fact that they have spoken:

“Asked about speculation that the Rockies are interested in all-star, free-agent reliever Mark Melancon, a product of Golden High School, Bridich said: “I won’t say much. Like we have done with a lot of guys, we have had conversations, and we have checked in on Mark.”

Bridich confirmed the club’s interest in former Miami Marlins left-hander Mike Dunn.

“We first interacted with his agent at the (general managers) meetings,” Bridich said. “That’s no surprise … We had conversation. After that I’m not sure what to say.”

Melancon is likely considered the third-best reliever available in free agency this winter. Over 71.1 innings shared among the Pirates and Nationals last season, Melacon posted a strikeout rate of 24.1 percent and a FIP of 2.42—good enough for 14th in the majors among qualified relievers.

While Melancon is competing with Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen—the two best relievers by FIP this past season—for employment, Melancon could represent substantial value for teams not willing to spend nine-figures on a reliever. The 31-year-old doesn’t have Chapman’s or Jansen’s fastballs, but since 2013, he’s been worth the fourth-most WAR among relievers. The difference might end up being so negligible that the dollar difference will make it more than worth it.

Dunn on the other hand is more of a lefty specialist. Over 42.1 innings last year, the Marlins deployed Dunn evenly against righties and lefties. Over his career, the 31-year-old has posted slightly more favorable splits against left-handed batters, but he has struck out more than one quarter of all batters he has faced throughout seven seasons.

With Boone Logan potentially departing to free agency, the Rockies bullpen could miss one of its top contributors. Adding Melancon or Dunn would be prudent moves for the Rockies this winter, but they have many pressing issues if they would like to be competitive next season. Furthermore, Melancon will be drawing significant interest and it might be best for his market value if he waits for at least one of Chapman or Jansen to sign.