Giants to 'explore every opportunity' in effort to fix bullpen problem

The San Francisco Giants know what's not working, so the next step is to fix it.

With the bullpen to blame for their postseason demise -- and largely for the team's collapse during the second half of the season -- the Giants realize they need to acquire an established closer for the 2017 season.

"We will explore every opportunity to make sure no ninth inning goes unstaffed," general manager Bobby Evans told reporters Thursday.

A bullpen that was so good for so long during all the team's title runs failed to hold a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs, with five relievers unable to end it. Manager Bruce Bochy never turned to demoted closer Santiago Casilla, and Sergio Romo couldn't finish off the Cubs.

That result will cost the Giants, who led the NL West by as many as eight games this season, as management vowed to remedy the issue, either via trade or free agency. Among the closers eligible to hit the open market after this season: Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen.

The Giants had looked into acquiring Melancon, Chapman and Andrew Miller prior to the trade deadline this season, but came up empty on all fronts.

"We have every commitment for 2017 to return to a championship-caliber club," Giants CEO Larry Baer said. "Resources will be expended as necessary to get us there."

In addition, San Francisco will almost certainly go forward with new faces -- Derek Law, Steven Okert, Will Smith -- as the young relievers move into roles with greater responsibility in the later innings.

"We've got to do everything we can to be clear on who is finishing our games," Evans said. "The bullpen performs at a much higher level when you know who the ninth-inning guy is. It puts everybody at ease. It helps Boch as he defines roles. Ambiguity creates tension and unknowns that can ... detract to performance and ultimately lead to struggles."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.