The Nationals have acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn, Washington announced Saturday.
Melancon led MLB in saves in 2015 with 51 and has 30 so far this season to go along with a 1.51 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 41.2 innings pitched. He was named an All-Star both this season and last.
Washington has had some concern over the health of Jonathan Papelbon recently with manager Dusty Baker declining to discuss whether the veteran still had the closer’s job before the trade news broke on Saturday, according to MASN Sports’ Mark Zuckerman.
The Nationals currently sit atop the NL East with a six-game lead over the Marlins. The Pirates are currently 9.5 games out of the NL Central lead, but only three games behind in the race for one of the National League’s two wild-card slots.