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Washington Nationals Rumors: Giants reportedly sign Mark Melancon; Where do Nationals turn?

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On the second day of the Winter Meetings, the Giants have plucked up the Nationals’ now-former closer from free agency.

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

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the San Francisco Giants have signed free agent closer Mark Melancon.

The Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo reported on Monday morning that the Nationals offered Melancon a four-year deal, as did the Giants and potentially other teams, but for less than the rumored $60 million total price tag.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo traded for Melancon at last July’s non-waiver trade deadline, sending Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn to Pittsburgh in return.

Melancon converted 17 out of 18 save opportunities in the regular season for Washington.

In his 29.2 innings of regular season ball while in D.C., Melancon had a 1.82 ERA, WHIP of 0.89, and K/9 of 8.2.

In 4.1 postseason innings pitched, he allowed two walks (both intentional), three hits, and no runs while striking out five. He made good on his only save opportunity, in a 5-2 win in Game 2, during the Nationals’ five-game NLDS loss to the Dodgers.

Going forward, it’s not entirely clear what the Nationals will do to put a wedge in what seems to be a revolving door at closer. Shawn Kelley (seven saves in nine opportunities and 13 holds last season) could be promoted to the role, though past injury issues are a concern, or Rizzo could opt for a trade or less flashy option out of this winter’s free agent class.

FanRag’s Jon Heyman also suggested that after missing out on Melancon, the Nationals could increase their pushes for Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen and White Sox southpaw Chris Sale.

Where should the Nationals go from here?

For more, check out our full rumor roundup from earlier today here.