This past offseason, the Giants overhauled the back of their bullpen. Out went mainstays Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez. In came prized free agent Mark Melancon.
It was supposed to be a seamless transition for one of the most reliable closers in baseball.
But nearly three months in, Melancon is one of many Giants players struggling while the team flounders in last place in the NL West with a 27-51 record.
And it appears Melancon's relationship with his new teammates didn't get off to a great start.
Melancon "rubbed some teammates the wrong way early in the season" by canceling a longstanding pregame stretching session with the other relievers that was implemented long before he joined the team, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
That's not the only stretching-related issue to impact the Giants. Manager Bruce Bochy had to get involved when several veterans were reportedly late on multiple occasions for the team stretching session.
“I dropped the ball. I’ve been doing this so long, you take for granted that they know what I want. These guys were used to doing it how they’ve done it — ‘I have my own routine. I’m not going to stretch.’ But we do stretch as a team here. They all have to be out there,” Bochy said.
Closers are known to have unique routines and Bochy addressed that as well.
“Sometimes other relievers … maybe they get a little taken aback by it. I don’t know what (closer) doesn’t have a routine like that,” Bochy said.
General Manager Bobby Evans addressed the claim that Melancon is rubbing teammates the wrong way and defended his closer's role in the clubhouse.
“To whatever degree it hasn’t manifested itself or to the extent it’s manifested itself in the perception of some negatively, I can assure you that was not Mark’s intention. Mark is a team guy,” Evans said.
Melancon, who has a 4.58 ERA and 11 saves in 15 chances this season, has three years and $53 million left on his contract with the Giants.