The Braves are have acquired All-Star closer Shane Greene from the Tigers, reports Buster Olney of ESPN. Olney and his colleague Jeff Passan are reporting a deal for Giants reliever Mark Melancon is done, too. The Braves previously acquired Chris Martin from the Rangers to help shore up their late-inning relief corps.
Greene, 30, is turning in a career year in 2019. He’s got a 1.18 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 43 strikeouts in 38 innings. Blown saves have been an issue for the Braves and Greene has only blown three in 25 chances for the Tigers. Melancon, 34, has a 3.50 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings this season for the Giants. Formerly one of the best closers in the league, Melancon is not near what he used to be, but he can get some big outs.
The Braves now have Greene to close with Melancon and Martin likely serving as the primary setup men, meaning in less than 24 hours, the Braves completely overhauled their struggling bullpen. Luke Jackson, Sean Newcomb and Anthony Swarzak are also options for high-leverage work, though it hasn’t exactly been working out lately. Jackson blew another save on Wednesday, minutes before these deals were reported.
In fact, that was the Braves’ 18th blown save this season, putting them in the top third of the league in that category. Yes, there are several contenders above them (the A’s, Cubs, Nationals, Red Sox, Dodgers and Yankees and wow a lot of playoff-caliber teams need to fix bullpens), but blowing roughly 40 percent of your team’s save chances doesn’t inspire confidence for chances of a deep playoff runs.
With Martin, Melancon and Greene now on board, the Braves’ chances of winning the pennant certainly went up.