Brian Snitker and the Braves made a surprising decision over the weekend when it was announced Shane Greene, the Braves new closer, would be removed from that job for Mark Melancon. Is this the right move?
Shane Greene has struggled mightily since coming over in a trade from the Detroit Tigers. This season with the Tigers, Green had put up pretty decent numbers, saving 22 games with 1.18 ERA in 38 innings. His short time in Atlanta has been a lot different. In 5 appearances, Greene has pitched 4 innings with no saves and an ERA over 11. In his 38 innings with the Tigers, Greene had given up 21 hits. Greene has give up more than half of that, 11, in his time with Atlanta so far.
Mark Melancon, another pickup from the trade deadline, was called upon to replace Greene in the closer duties. This was a logical move, considering Melancon had served in that role for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants, recording 183 saves over that time. And Melancon was having a better start to his Braves career, not giving up any runs in first four appearances. However, in his first game since being named the closer, Melancon would go on to give up four runs in the bottom of the 9th, in a non-save situation, further complicating the Braves closer situation.
If things weren’t murky enough for the Braves, on Sunday, in a save situation, Brain Snitker called upon Luke Jackson to close the game out. And he did, despite giving up three hits in the process. I do not expect Luke Jackson to be given the closer’s role again, but it was odd to see Jackson back on the mound in the 9th inning. Even with Melancon pitching the past two days, I would have expected him to get the call in that spot.
In the upcoming week, I assume Mark Melancon will be the closer for the time being. This is what Brian Snitker has told us, anyway. After the debacle that was Saturday night, the Braves still have questions. The main question to me is will Shane Greene be given another chance at closing duties?
Brian Snitker has said publicly, he hasn’t had enough time with Greene to figure out what’s going on with him. It’s not what the Braves or their fans wanted when the trade was completed. Greene was thought to be the savior after a long season of bullpen disappointment. It’s been another story entirely with Greene, however. But that doesn’t mean that Greene can’t get his job back.
Brian Snitker has shown a strange impatience with Greene. What’s unusual about it, to me, is how much patience he showed when it came to Luke Jackson. Jackson was trotted out time after time, blown save after blown save, and never lost his job. The Braves had options in Sean Newcomb and Anthony Swarzak that were never explored. Yet, this time, with Greene, Snitker has given little to no rope. Snitker could change his mind, but this move for Greene feels more permanent.
Whatever the Braves do moving forward, one thing that is clear is that this bullpen is far from solved. Shane Greene has been a reliable closer in the past, and I think can be one again here in Atlanta. However, it feels like yanking him out of his position a week into his job will further complicate the situation for Greene. Having Melancon as insurance is great to have, but having an experienced vet closer behind Greene like him may not be the best move for him either, especially if he’s publicly stating his intentions of wanting the closer’s job. However, this is sports, and everyone is trying to take their job. If Shane Greene wants his job back, he’s going to have to do a lot more than he’s been doing so far in Atlanta. Greene’s going to have to earn his job back.