The San Diego Padres signed relievers Mark Melancon of Wheat Ridge, CO, and Keone Kela of Los Angeles, CA, on Thursday according to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Both pitchers are expected to play a key role in the Padres bullpen in 2021, even though they may not be the Padres’ closer.
Melancon signed a one-year deal worth $2 million, with a $5 million mutual option for 2022. The Padres become Melancon’s eighth Major League team as he has also played for the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants, and Atlanta Braves.
Last year in 2020, in 23 games, Melancon had a record of two wins and one loss with an earned run average of 2.78 and 11 saves. In 22 2/3 innings pitched, he gave up 22 hits, seven earned runs, and seven walks, and had 14 strikeouts, and a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.28.
In 2013, 2015, and 2016, Melancon was an all-star with the Pirates. In 2015, he led Major League Baseball with 51 saves. In all, Melancon has 205 career Major League Baseball saves, which puts him 49th on the all-time list. Among active relief pitchers, Melancon is sixth. The only active pitchers with more saves are Craig Kimbrel (348), Kenley Jansen (312), Aroldis Chapman (276), Joakim Soria (223), and Greg Holland (212).
Kela signed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million. He missed most of the season with forearm tightness, and only pitched three games and two innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In that time, Kela gave up three hits, one earned run, one walk, and two strikeouts, with an earned run average of 4.50, and a WHIP of 2.00.
In addition to pitching for the Pirates, Kela has Major League Baseball experience pitching for the Texas Rangers. In 2018, Kela had 24 saves. In 2019, Kela was very effective for the Pirates, as he had an excellent earned run average of 2.12 in 32 games.