PHILADELPHIA -- For weeks, the speculation had been that Madison Bumgarner might be asked to waive his no-trade clause before Wednesday's MLB trade deadline. Instead it was another Giants pitcher faced with a choice that had to be made quickly.
About two hours before the 4 p.m. deadline, Mark Melancon was called and asked if he would waive his full no-trade to join the Atlanta Braves. Melancon quickly called his wife.
"She runs the show here," Melancon said, smiling, "But after we talked we realized it's Atlanta and a really good situation over there."
The right-hander joins a team that is running away with the NL East and has championship aspirations. The Braves added multiple pieces to their bullpen and obviously felt Melancon, a former All-Star closer, can be an important part moving forward. They felt strongly enough that they took on the remaining $18 million of Melancon's four-year contract, one of the day's biggest stunners. Melancon has one year remaining after this one.
For the Giants, the move cleared payroll and a roster spot. They would like a more flexible bullpen, and Melancon -- like Drew Pomeranz and Sam Dyson -- could not be optioned to the minors. The Giants did lose a contributor, though. Melancon had a 3.50 ERA in 43 appearances and was throwing very well in July, with his curveball becoming a dominant pitch again.
The final stretch was the best part of Melancon's two-plus years in San Francisco. After the 2016 NLDS collapse, the Giants signed him to a then-record deal, one that was part of Bobby Evans' downfall. A pronator injury limited Melancon in 2017 and 2018 and he ended up saving just 15 games for the Giants.
As he walked out the door Wednesday, Melancon admitted the time here was "disappointing, really." He hoped to pitch better. He hoped to be part of what the Giants are doing this year, but ultimately the front office asked him to go elsewhere.
"Physically with my arm, I went through some things that were unexpected," he said. "But I'd like to think I gave it all I could and produced as much as I could. It would have been really neat to stick it out and see where this team goes."
"I would have enjoyed that ride just as much, but this is a new opportunity for me."