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.

Tyler Thomas

Tyler is a secondary education teacher and basketball coach with a passion for all things Pittsburgh sports, most notably the Pirates. His passion is centered around the development of players, both in the major and minor leagues. You can follow him on Twitter at @PBDThomas.

  • Rivero doesn’t look like the worst option (glover would’ve been better) but Hearn? maybe.. hes a toss in but really doesn’t look promising so far.

    Pirates got screwed on this one. Feliz is really the only closing option now and he is good as gone after the season.

    with another lefty coming in and Brault’s fairly good performance last night.. i suspect there is a deal to get Niese, Liriano and/or Locke moving. Way to many lefties on the MLB staff.

    Sorry to see you go Mark, not just because you are a good ball player 🙁

    • Jaynestown

      Tony is probably going to pitch in the 9th now, next man up. Think he has all the tools to close except that long standing tradition that closers should be right handers…which shouldn’t even matter since Tony pitched against righties and lefties anyways.

      • before the season started i would say i’d agree. Now i’m not so sure. Even if we’re back to the same problem issue next season.

  • OkcPig

    This is pathetic. This cheap management group will do anything to save a dime. This should have been the year we spent some money on pitching and won a World Series. Boooo