The Nationals have solved their problem closing games, acquiring veteran Mark Melancon from the Pirates. Washington sending reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn to Pittsburgh.
Hearn, a southpaw, was a fifth round selection out of Oklahoma a year ago. Hearn was ranked the #27 prospect in the Nationals organization, according to MLB.com. The 25-year old Rivero was the top left hander in the Nats bullpen, a role that may be assumed by Sammy Solis. Hearn was 0-3 with a save and a 4.53 in 47 appearances this season.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 30, 2016
With current reliever Jonathan Papelbon struggling of late, Nats General Manager got on the phone to find a replacement. The Nats missed out on current Cubs reliever Aroldis Chapman, then turned their attention to Kansas City’s Wade Davis, New York Yankees southpaw Andrew Miller, Melancon and others. Melancon will join the Nationals and be available for duty on Sunday.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 30, 2016
Melancon is a proven closer and three time National League All-Star. Melancon relies on a 91 mile per hour cutter, a 92 mph four-seam fastball and a curve ball is his change of pace offering. The 31 year old Melancon is in the final year of his current contract, but the Nats are expected to try and get an extension. The right hander has an ERA of 1.51 with 30 saves in 45 appearances this season. Melancon, a veteran of eight seasons, saved a career high 51 games last season.
A year ago, the Nats acquired Papelbon from Philadelphia, bumping then closer Drew Storen to a setup role. There is no question who will close games now.
Melancon will close for the Nationals. Papelbon has been told, was understanding, according to someone familiar with the situation.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 30, 2016
Cover Photo Courtesy @ChatSports
The Major League Baseball trading deadline is Monday, August 1st.