According to Ken Rosenthal, the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a deal which will send esteemed closer Mark Melancon to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Felipe Rivero and at least one prospect.
The move ends weeks of speculation, as the Pittsburgh Pirates were on the fence teetering back and forth between being buyers or sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline. It appears last night’s 3-1 loss was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Melancon has been one of the best closer’s in baseball with 81 saves since the start of the 2015 season, but his impending free agency at the end of the season and the daunting $16.7 million qualifying offer might have forced general manager Neal Huntington to deal the All-Star closer for whatever he could get.
In exchange, the Pirates will get 25-year-old Felipe Rivero as a young, hard throwing left-handed pitcher with five years of control. Rivero has struggled in 2016 after an impressive debut in 2015.
The Pirates also received Taylor Hearn, another left-handed pitcher who has struggled since joining the low-A Hagerstown Suns. The 27th ranked prospect in the Nationals system has a 3.18 ERA in eight appearances this season, only two of which were starts. The Oklahoma Baptist University product projects as a decent project for the Pirates’ developmental staff.
The move seems like a dramatic undersell by Neal Huntington after the Yankees got four quality players in exchange of Aroldis Chapman, who has been statistically inferior to Mark Melancon despite lighting up radar guns.
We will have more coverage of this move in the coming days as more information becomes available.