In return, the Phillies received minor-league righthander Nick Pivetta. The Nationals also announced they agreed to a contract for 2016 with Papelbon and designated catcher Dan Butler for assignment.
Papelbon holds a $13 million option for next season that becomes guaranteed after he finishes 14 more games.
Reports linked Papelbon to the Nationals over the past few days. The closer held limited no-trade rights and said multiple times that he would not go to a team that would not allow him to maintain his ninth-inning job. The Nationals’ incumbent closer, Drew Storen, holds a 1.73 ERA and 1.02 WHIP this season, converting on 29 of 31 save chances.
Papelbon, 34, has converted all 17 of his save opportunities this season for the Phillies, with a 1.59 ERA and 0.98 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings.
The Phillies are reportedly continuing trade talks surrounding lefthander Cole Hamels leading up to Friday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
Pivetta, 22, was a fourth-round pick in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of New Mexico Junior College. Over 18 games and 17 starts between High A Potomac and Dougle A Harrisburg, he went 7–6 with a 3.02 ERA.
- Jeremy Woo and Mike Fiammetta