With the latest struggles from Jonathan Papelbon, the Washington Nationals were in need of a closer.
That’s exactly what they got when they traded for Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Mark Melancon.
The Colorado native attended Golden High School where he played baseball, basketball, and football. After high school, Melancon went on to play college baseball at the University of Arizona.
He appeared in 29 games as a freshman, but it was until his sophomore year when he became a closer.
That same year, he recorded 11 saves in 34 appearances. He finished college with a total of 18 saves.
Mark was then selected by the New York Yankees in the ninth round, 284th overall in the 2006 MLB Draft. He played in the minor leagues for a few seasons before being called up to the majors in 2009.
The 31-year old right-hander made his debut against the Boston Red Sox on April 26. He gave up no runs, a hit, and recorded a strikeout in two innings of work.
He pitched in 12 more games that season, and posted a 3.86 ERA.
In 2010, Melancon appeared in two games before being traded to the Houston Astros. He registered 20 saves and a 2.95 ERA in 91 games played.
Melancon was then traded to the Boston Red Sox before the start of the 2012 season. He struggled with the Red Sox, posting a 6.20 ERA in 41 games. He was on the move once again when Boston shipped him to the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason.
In his first season with the Pirates, Melancon went to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game as a reliever. He became the closer when now-former Pirate Jason Grilli went on the disabled list. Melancon ended up posting a 1.39 ERA, and recording 16 saves.
Melancon started the 2014 season as a setup man but became the full-time closer when Grilli was traded to the Los Angeles Angels.
He had another solid season, with a 1.90 ERA, 33 saves, and 70 strikeouts.
He was named to second All-Star game and received the NL Hoffman Reliever Award in 2015. Melancon had a 2.23 ERA and tallied a career-high 51 saves.
This year, Melancon is one of the top closers in baseball. He has a 1-1 record, 30 saves and a ERA of 1.51. He went to his third All-Star Game.
Sure, Melancon will be a free agent after this season, but the Nationals are getting a closer who is better than the one they have now.