WASHINGTON — The Nationals have traded for Pittsburgh Pirates closer Mark Melancon.
They will send lefty reliever Felipe Rivero and 21-year-old left-hander Taylor Hearn to the Pirates in the deal. Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the deal, and Jon Heyman was the first to have the full details. The Nationals have since confirmed the deal.
Melancon, 31, has a 1.51 ERA and 0.960 WHIP through 41.2 innings this season, and he was named an All-Star this year, his third time in four seasons. He has registered 38 strikeouts to nine walks this season, and he has saved 30 of 33 opportunities. He will be a free agent at the end of the season.
The former Pirates closer has saved 151 of 173 opportunities in his career, a save rate of 87.3 percent. Jonathan Papelbon, the Nationals closer whose future remains to be seen, has saved 368 of 417 chances (88.2 percent) in his career, but he has saved just 26 of 31 chances (83.8 percent) since he joined the Nationals.
Rivero, 25, has a 4.53 ERA and 1.168 WHIP through 49.2 innings this season. He saved one game and blew another save, and he’s registered 53 strikeouts to 15 walks while appearing in 47 games. He has shown significant upside during his time in Washington, but he has also struggled with consistency. His ERA is the highest among the 11 regular Nationals pitchers this season. He has also hit five batters this year, more than all other Nationals relievers combined.
Including 2015, Rivero has a 3.67 ERA in 98.0 innings over 96 appearances for his big-league career. He has a 1.061 WHIP to go with 96 strikeouts, 26 walks and 78 hits.
Hearn was drafted by the Nationals in 2015 and has appeared in eight games in Single-A Hagerstown this year. He has registered a 3.18 ERA, a 1.412 WHIP and a 1-0 record.