Jon Morosi of FOX Sports confirms a report initially from Barry Svurluga of the Washington Post: the Phillies have agreed to trade closer Jonathan Papelton to the division rival Washington Nationals for minor league pitcher Nick Pivetta (as reported by MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki).
Pivetta, 22, was recently promoted to Double-A Harrisburg after 15 quality starts with Single-A Potomac. With Potomac, he registered a 2.29 ERA with a 72/29 K/BB ratio across 86 1/3 innings. He made two decent outings with Harrisburg and one poor outing, resulting in a small-sample 7.20 ERA with a 6/9 K/BB ratio in 15 innings. The Nationals took Pivetta in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post wrote recently of Pivetta’s adjustment in his first taste of Double-A competition.
Here’s what MLB.com‘s Jim Callis wrote of Pivetta at the time the Nationals signed him:
#Nationals sign 4th-rder Nic Pivetta for $364,300. New Mexico JC RHP, 90-93 to 97, flashes plus slider & changeup, New Mex commit. #mlbdraft
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) June 20, 2013
MLB Network Radio’s Mike Ferrin suggests Pivetta has a ceiling as a number four starter. ESPN’s Keith Law gave his seal of approval as well. Pivetta’s minor league stats don’t portray a hurler who can miss bats with regularity and nor has he displayed anything better than average control. But he’s still young for the level at which he’s playing, so he still has plenty of time to develop. If the Phillies were to get a #4 starter in return for Papelbon, that’s not a bad get. Kyle Kendrick filled a similar role for years and, while he wasn’t anybody’s idea of great, he soaked up a bunch of innings which in itself has value.
The Nationals, of course, are getting one of baseball’s best closers and a likely future Hall of Famer. Papelbon has put together one of the best seasons of his career this year, earning the save in all 17 chances while compiling a 1.59 ERA and a 40/8 K/BB ratio in 39 2/3 innings. One of Papelbon’s requirements was that he must close for his new team, so he will be displacing current Nationals closer Drew Storen, who has also put together a terrific season.
It’s not known yet how much money the Phillies are including in the deal. Papelbon is owed the remainder of his $13 million salary for the 2015 season. The Nationals guaranteed his 2016 option for $11 million, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
All-in-all, it’s a deal which works out well for both sides. The competitive Nationals make a significant upgrade in their bullpen, and the rebuilding Phillies get a potentially useful pitcher who has a better-than-average chance to be a contributor in the coming years. Gear up, because there are likely more trades to be made in the next few days.
Phillies Trade Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals
Author: Bill Baer
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