Melancon nearing his career’s end?

This year might be relief pitcher Mark Melancon’s last season as a Pirate, and possibly, MLB player.

The 30-year-old from Arvada, Colorado signed a one-year, $9.65 million contract with the Pirates, a $4 million increase from last season. After this season, he will be a free agent.

Melancon’s ERA gradually rose from 2013’s 1.39, 2014’s 1.90 and now 2015’s 2.23. His fastball speed has fallen from a career-best 93.3 mph to 91.5 mph. On top of that, his curveball has decreased nearly 5 mph over his career, from 84.0 mph to 80.9 mph.

The 2015 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year award winner led the majors in saves and set a club record with 51 saves in 53 tries in 2015. Despite this impressive performance, Melancon can’t seem to return to his top pitch speeds that were plentiful in his early Pirates days.

As he nears his 31st birthday on March 28, Melancon’s age arguably plays an increasingly large factor in his role as relief pitcher.

Only time will tell what the future has stored for Melancon.

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