Yesterday we heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates were getting interest on Mark Melancon, with the Nationals, Indians, and Giants as teams who were pursuing him. What we didn’t hear was whether the Pirates were actually interested in dealing Melancon. Today, Jon Heyman reports that the Pirates would consider Melancon, but only if they got an Aroldis Chapman type return.

Chapman was recently traded for the number 27 prospect in baseball, plus a controllable reliever in Adam Warren, along with an outfield prospect who started the year in the top 100, and a lottery ticket outfielder in the lower levels. I don’t think the Pirates could get that much, but I don’t think it would be out of the question that they’d be able to get a seventh inning reliever and a top 50-100 prospect, considering all of the interest. Jerry Crasnick notes seven teams that are the most aggressive for relievers, which bodes well for a big return possibility for Melancon.

The Pirates are mentioned among that list, and Crasnick explains that in another tweet.

This is similar to what we heard yesterday, with the rumors saying the Pirates were looking for a seventh inning reliever and prospect(s) in return for Melancon. A team looking to upgrade the back of their bullpen could make that work, trading a prospect or two in order to upgrade their seventh inning guy to a closer. Meanwhile, the Pirates would just shift Neftali Feliz and Tony Watson to the 8th and 9th innings, and have the new reliever as the 7th inning replacement.

If the Pirates could pull that off, they wouldn’t lose much from their late inning relievers, while potentially adding a high upside prospect or two in the process.

UPDATE 3:10PM: Ken Rosenthal is reporting the deal is done, though a prospect to be named is part of the deal. Melancon is going to the Nationals for 25-year-old lefty reliever Felipe Rivero. More on this as details emerge.

Jon Heyman (among a few people now) is reporting 21-year-old lefty pitching prospect Taylor Hearn is part of the deal

UPDATE 3:48 PM: Analysis from Tim Williams…

The Pirates have officially announced the deal. This definitely isn’t an Aroldis Chapman type deal, but that’s not to say it’s a bad deal for the Pirates. First, let’s break down the players.

Rivero is a 25-year-old left-handed reliever who has a ton of velocity. He averages 95.4 MPH with his fastball, and has hit as high as 99.8 MPH. He pairs that with a plus-plus changeup, which makes him effective against right-handers. He strikes out a batter an inning, and hasn’t given up a lot of walks. This year he has an ERA of 4.53, but his xFIP is 3.61, with the key factor being that he has only stranded 64.5% of runners (league average is 70%, and he was 72.4% last year). He also gets an above average ground ball rate, at 48.5%.

Hearn was drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round in 2012 out of high school, but didn’t sign. He also didn’t sign with the Reds as a 36th rounder the following year, nor with the Twins as a 25th rounder in 2014. He did sign as a 5th rounder by the Nationals in 2015, after seeing his fastball velocity jump to 92-95 MPH, with the ability to touch 100. He pairs that with a slider that has gotten a lot of strikeouts. Hearn is also a left-handed pitcher, at 6′ 5″, 210 pounds, and he turns 22 a month from today.

Hearn is pitching in Low-A this year, posting a 3.18 ERA in 22.2 innings, with a 31:7 K/BB ratio. His innings count is low due to a broken foot that kept him out for almost three months. He returned in early July, and has been working as a long reliever in his return, after being a starter at the beginning of the year. The Pirates will likely have him moving back to the rotation in West Virginia.

The Pirates didn’t get a massive return here, as they didn’t get one of the top 100 overall MLB prospects currently in the Nationals’ system. It seems most of the value here came at the major league level. Rivero has the stuff to be a very good late inning lefty, and he’s under control for five more seasons beyond the 2016 season (he will be Super Two eligible after the 2017 season). Getting that type of reliever for five years, with some MLB success already under his belt, is a pretty good return for two months of Melancon.

Hearn isn’t the most polished prospect, but he definitely has upside. A left-hander who can throw in the mid-90s range, hit 100, and pair that fastball with a strong breaking pitch is someone you want to take a chance on. He might not be a top 100 prospect now, but the stuff is there to give him that upside or more in the future if he develops. He also seems like he could be a guy who would settle in as a good late inning reliever with his fastball/slider combo, if the starting thing doesn’t work out.

Overall, this deal makes sense for both teams. The Nationals upgraded their bullpen this year, going from Rivero to Melancon. The Pirates got a good reliever for five years and two months, who has the stuff to be a great reliever for most of that time. They also got a high upside arm in Hearn. That was all for two months of a great reliever (who they could still bring back after the season if they wanted to spend $10 M a year for multiple years on a closer), in a year where they don’t have the strongest chance of making a long playoff run.

This is a good trade return for Melancon, although the perception of the trade is definitely influenced by the current market, as noted so well by JJ Cooper and Dan Szymborski.

The quick analysis of this deal is that the Pirates didn’t get a massive, Chapman-like return here, but they did get a good return, and we could be looking back on this deal very favorably in a few years, or even as early as next year. As a side note, the Pirates will save about $3 M on this deal the rest of the season, which could impact them the next two days in their other moves.

UPDATE 5:30 PM: The Pirates also sent “about” $500K to the Nationals as part of the deal according to Jon Heyman, so that savings is now closer to $2.5M.

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306 COMMENTS

  1. Yea, Cashman got more for a gdamn setup guy than we got for our all-star closer for the past four years…..

    • I hope I can eat my words in a few years, but how do we get a bullpen arm and a starter that is 3 years away when the Yankees get a top 5 draft pick who may play in the majors next year? Frazier and Meadows were the top 2 HS position players in the draft a few years back! I agree with trading MM, but is this really the best we could do?

  2. I was glad to see they got Rivero. He was really impressive last week against the Pirates. As I watched him I thought about the potential of him being a starter with his size, velocity, and pitches. But, if he stays a reliever, which he probably will, he has the potential to make a jump in numbers as good as his stuff is. That would make him pretty comparable to Watson. It would have been nice to see on more prospect tacked on to that deal but anytime you can get two lefties that throw 100 for a guy you are about to lose I think you did ok. B-!

  3. Reality check regarding Hearn:
    From 2003-2012, 300 players were selected in the 5th round. 94 (31.3%) of them had a least a cup of coffee. Those 94 players combined for a total of 140.1 WAR, or an average of just less than 1.5 WAR each. However, of that 140.1 WAR, just five guys: Arrieta, Archer, Chris Davis, Samardzija and Brandon Belt, account for about half of that.

    So of the 94 who made it, when you subtract those five outlier All-Stars, the average contribution is less than 0.8 WAR – for their career to date.

    You’re really looking at about a 2% chance of Hearn being an impact player.

  4. Will someone please tell NH they don’t hang banners for finishing the season with the best farm system.

  5. Remember when the sky was falling and we got some crap reliever with a bad era from Boston.

  6. In the grand scheme of things…

    The Pirates drafted Sean Burnett in 2000. He was traded for Hanrahan…who was traded for Melancon…who was traded for Rivero and Hearn. If either of these guys pans out…that’s a lot of mileage the Pirates got from that pick…heck the Burnett pick has already yielded 213 saves.

  7. Since everybody on PP always seem to “look to the future”, please tell me with the current rosters of the cubs and cardinals, how the bucs finish above 3rd for the next several years? keep in mind, the cubs and cards have had several times the impact players from their minor league systems than we have (even though our systems always rank higher) and constantly are improving their major league rosters…please tell me…what if the best years of cutch and liriano are behind them? What if every hitter that reaches base against Glasnow steals their way to 3rd base? What if Bell is no better than Pedro at first?

    • That’s why it’s good to have depth in the minors. Aren’t you kinda glossing over guys like Polanco, Cole, Taillon, etc with that narrative BTW?.?…

        • Bell if he can figure out 1B defensively…..Meadows is injury prone and not exactly lighting up AAA and Newman is Matt Hague with less power

            • Blaine, its all about the unknown…we do not know that Bell will be an All star performer, we hope. We dont know that Meadows will ever be anything, we hope. We dont know that Glasnow will ever possess enough body control to stop or slow the running game in MLB…who knows?

      • k, Polanco is not equal to Bryant, Cole is not equal to Arrieta, Taillon is not equal to Lester…depth means nothing if your depth is not better than the other teams and unfortunately, we are in the Central….by the time we can put together a championship caliber roster, the reds and brewers will have re-tooled and we could win 80 games and still be staring up at four other teams…we won 98 damn games last year, last off-season was our chance to go ALL OUT….instead, we wanted to be just good enough to finish above 500 for the next few years and that may not even happen this year…

          • where have i heard that before? Oh yea, after the 1997 season – ’98 and ’99 were to be huge seasons….

          • why? how in hell do you think we will be able to catch a team like the cubs, let alone the cardinals? Imagine what epstein could get for Arrieta or a Lester…he literally rebuilt that team into a dynasty with a few trades

      • If we were in another division, we might be a good bit better…in the Central, we have at best the THIRD best depth….Sorry, Gallatin, thats just the facts….

      • seems that way…..guess some of you have alot more life left than i do…i doubt i have 10 more 5 year plans in me…..I love how the message always changes with this team to suit their needs…remember back in 2011-2012, when the team spent huge money on PR/marketing firms to lambast us that the Pirates are ONLY interested in a Championship and that .500 was not the goal….now, it looks like .500 is the goal for this season

  8. Seems like a fair trade from both sides, considering the spots both teams find themselves in, one would think that Melancon would bring back at least a better rated prospected based on the Chapman deal, but one trade doesn’t set the market.

    I always liked Melancon, but the Pirates weren’t going to resign him or offer a qualifying offer. Pretty damn rare to find a multi-year stretch like he and Watson put together.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=y&type=3&season=2016&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=3,d

  9. When is MLB going to move back the non-waiver trade deadline? With the added one-game playoff in each league, I think it’s hard to ascertain whether the Pirates and a number of other teams are contenders or simply looking to 2017. MLB needs to move the non-waiver trade deadline to at least mid-August or even the end of August, just before the September 1 expanded rosters. I hate trading away a really great player in Melancon, as he rebounded nicely after a few years bouncing around between Houston, NYY and Boston before coming to the Pirates. But the realist in me knows that the Pirates were never going to be able to resign Melancon after this season, even if the Pirates had made a qualifying offer to him. I do like this trade a lot. Two lefty hard throwing guys. Gotta love that. As we learned this season, it doesn’t hurt to keep piling on the pitching depth. The Pirates have a wealth of talent both at the MLB level and in the minors to keep them competitive for many years to come. I don’t think the Pirates have really jeopardized their playoff chances at a wild-card for this year either. I think, for the most part, even though Melancon was very good at what he did, the closer role is one of the most overrated positions in baseball. Over the last two seasons I’ve seen Melancon pick up saves on one pitch or only facing one batter, only because a previous reliever was ineffective and allowed the other team to make the game closer than what it actually was. This trade reminds me of the Travis Snider for Steven Brault / Stephen Tarpley. For all we know, Melancon could go over to Washington and get injured and miss the rest of the season and never get resigned by the Nationals. Hence, we fleece the Nats just like we did the O’s a few years back with the Snider deal.

  10. If the Pirates were winning 60% of their games, had Glasnow and Kuhl pitching well as rotation members, were healthy, etc. then this trade would make no sense whatsoever if everything else were equal. But the Pirates are not winning 60% of their games. Kuhl and Glasnow are injured. 2016 appears to be a lost season for Liriano and Cutch. So, this deal is far from a head scratcher. Moreover, Huntington has more accurate and extensive information about the state of the market for relievers. He has this information because he could compare the offers he had gotten for Melancon. Unless he and his staff lost their minds recently, then we can assume he took the best offer he got. So, a claim stating that he did not get enough for Melancon means the Pirates erred (they had a better offer) or Huntington needed to do something to increase that return. What, exactly, could have he done to increase that return?

    This, to my mind, was a shrewd trade which, if it works out to the Pirates’ advantage, would add to the organization players who meet an organizational need, that being, for power left handed pitchers.

  11. Wow I hope magic dust helps! Gave up a solid classy guy for more prospects to savor and relish but use sparingly.

  12. I like the trade.

    Hearn’s ceiling is the moon, basically, a lefty with that much size and that much velocity. His control seems not terrible, too, which helps. I assume the focus with him will be stretching him out and working on the secondary pitches.

    Rivero is already a perfectly useful reliever who can back-fill the bullpen in Melancon’s absence, and can do so for several years. He can be dominant at times, and he’s got two plus pitches to work with, along with serviceable command. One little adjustment to improve his performance against lefties, and he’ll be a dominant back of the bullpen reliever. He’s not as sure a thing as Melancon, but he’s younger, and the value over the next five years is worth sacrificing that certainty this year.

    I understand being upset because we just lost a great baseball player to another team, to a competitor, but this is a perfectly sensible deal for the Pirates to make.

    • I agree with the player assessments.

      While some folks don’t remember seem to remember it…it wasn’t like Melancon was any more than a hope when the Pirates got him.

      In the grand scheme of things…they were lucky he panned out and it was good they could flip him for something before his contract ended.

  13. we traded an MLB ALL STAR fella with a sub 2.23 era over the past 4 YEARS for a nothing middle reliever and a kid with a 3+ ERA in A ball…those are the FACTS…..also, we coulda had the Hearn kid in 2015….we passed on him for 5 ROUNDS…not a baseball trade, a money trade plain and simple….are we a stronger team today???!!! I remember several of you same birds saying what a great deal the Niese trade was as well – go figure

    • If Rivero ends up being a solid or better late inning reliever for the next FIVE YEARS all you naysayers out there need to come back on here and finally admit that NH knows what he is doing and agree to stop prejudging every move based on your limited knowledge of the situation.

      • And the first game that Watson blows you need to come back and admit that this trade constituted waving the white flag for this season.

      • Neal doesn’t win all his moves. He did a great job ending the losing and getting to the post-season. I’m not sure he’s going to be the guy to grab the gold ring though. Not paying for Happ then going after Niese really changed my opinion on NH.

        • Happ had exactly one half
          Of one good season. Wish I had the crystal ball that 14 wins of hindsight grants. We shouldn’t have passed on machado either… Or trout.

          • You believe in Searage fixing pitchers or you don’t. Simple as that.

            You can’t say “Searage fixed Happ, Volquez, et.al.” and then think they’re going to implode once they leave.

            And then you sign Niese, who never had the upside of the other projects.

            Stuff your Machado and Trout analogies. They don’t apply here.

      • Is Rivero the closer? NO. We lost an All-Star closer in the middle of what i thought was a run for the championship..i have never seen this in my 30 years of watching MLB…the TEAM feels that the management/ownership has given up on this year and the TEAM is playing like they are now also giving up

    • I don’t disagree with us being a weaker team this year forward. However I do have faith in Watson or Feliz to close games and so the amount weaker this year is minimal IMO.

      • u mean the Feliz that gave up a 450+ft bomb to kirk neuwen(not going to even try to spell that name)…and the watson that created his own high-leverage situation last night and gave up another run?

  14. Pirate Fans first, let me say I am excited that we had the Balls to pull the trigger!! We got a great HAUL for 2 months!! If we can put our remembering cap on when we beat the Nationals in 18, this dude DOMINATED US!!! We had nothing for him!! Mark my words…you ready?? This is our closer!!! He is better than Tony and Feliz!! His Changeup is Devastating!! Get him with Uncle Ray for these next 2 months and into the spring next year, this dude is going to be a Beast!! Plus we have this dude for 5 BIG YEARS!!! Like it or not we would have been a FOOL not to make this deal!! The way we are playing, we have less than a 10% chance to make the playoffs!! It’s BUSINESS!! Stop getting caught up in your feelings!! Melancon will treat it as such when it’s his turn to come to the table!!
    And I wish him the best!!!

    If I am Neal and really want to go hard core, I would put my best package together 2 years/25-26 million and see if we can get him back!! If not….Good luck Mark!!

    • This may sound crazy to some of you, but, maybe, just maybe, an all-star closer is worth 15m/year to a championship team…so what does that mean to a team like the pirates? it means that this ownership is happy to keep us just good enough to compete and sniff october baseball, but we will NEVER win it all because every other team in baseball (including the marlins) pony up the dough when they think they are close

    • If he is good why didn’t the Nats just make him the closer and why has the league had so much success against him? Why can the Nats pitching coaches perform so many of their pitchers but can’t seem to get the best out of this guy? Why Why Why??

      • First Bob, the Nats have always had issues with their bullpen!! With that said Rivero will earn his keep!! Give the guy a shot!! Let Ray have him and we will see!! But this dude is a Stud!! Love em!!

  15. I live in DC and watch a lot of Nats games. Rivero is lots of stuff, not much of a clue. When he’s bad hoo boy is it ugly. Caminero-esque, both good and bad. Nats ‘pen is a total mess and people here have pitchforks out for Papelbon. Wish Bucs could have got more, even if this is a logical trade on the surface.

  16. I like this trade. We got something for a guy who is going to be gone in two months.

    Make Rivero your 7th inning guy, move Feliz to the 8th and Watson your new closer.

    Maybe not as imposing as what we had, but not that great of a loss?

    • I agree. I wouldn’t even mind the idea of letting both Feliz and Watson share the closing duties.

    • Cant believe everyone is sooo damn lackadaisical about kicking 2016 🙁
      You ask EVERY BUCCO in uniform if they think their team is better today – they will answer by being swept by the brewers

        • Really, you are going to make that excuse? I wish a few people on these forums would have at least some experience with organized sports…athletes do not see some bigger picture out there, they see how does it help them now and for this season, this team has been made considerably weaker…we are now closer to a sub 500 season than anything….all stats aside, every member of our team is going to believe we are less equipped at winning THIS year….

          • The Brew Crew are all up in the heads of players like Cutch, Liriano, Cole, etc… Have been for years. That’s just gonna stop during a down season?

            I don’t believe in this version of the Bucs, and neither has management since the pitching market went nuts last fall.

          • You mean closer to a sub .500 season than 3 games over? The record they had with Melancon? Do you think Watson and Perez will look at their new roles and just say “damn, we can’t handle this, we really are less equipped to win?” Would you rather go into next season wondering whether Watson can handle closing, or having a reasonable idea? How many games difference do you think Melancon would have made when starters can’t get out of the 5th inning? When the offense is not producing? As someone alluded in another post, if every member of this team thinks they’re less equipped at winning, it should be because their performance this year WITH Melancon proves it – not because of this trade. Love the guy, but the deal had to be made.

              • Whoops, not sure how that got typed. I meant Feliz (who I think would be a good one to try to extend if reasonable, assuming he’d be up for such an offer).

            • I will bet anyone in here that the new closer blows no less than 3 games the rest of the way (possibly this week) – it is not an automatic for a setup man to make a smooth transition to the closer role…many have failed….many more have gotten there and failed….

              1.39
              1.90
              2.23
              1.51

              Not many closers in HISTORY have put up 4 years with those ERAs and that is what it all comes down to as a closer ERA – sabremetrics do not win games, preventing actual runs does!

              • Good point – given there’s little likelihood Melancon is back next year, it’s appropriate to allow Watson (or whomever) to ease into that role now rather than blowing some of those saves next April. As they showed over the weekend (including Friday, before the MM trade), this is not their year. They were just swept by the “easy part of the schedule” that was going to allow them to make a move, all because they couldn’t score off a couple of 5+ ERA pitchers. There is a core there to be competitive going forward, time to plan for that IMO.

        • No….the cubs and cardinals regularly bludgeon the brewers…btw, if youre watching, the brewers just stole a base and scored because our BEST IN MLB outfielders didnt initially move when our catcher made a bad throw….this team is phoning it in…pure and simple

      • I bet the Met fans are glad their ownership doesn’t operate like ours. Last year there team was a lot worse off then the Pirates were at this time and yet they managed to get to the WS. Now we will likely never know if that would have been our destiny because we decided to sell. If the deal would have been a blow out win deal then I would have been angry but would have understood but we got a pitcher that was at the end of the Nats BP and a relief pitcher in single A. I would bet Rivero will not make his 5 years of control before he is long gone and Hearn will be a footnote or trivia question.

    • Sorry but you are dreaming! A shut down closer for more upside palookas! Can’t wait for the next prospect report comes out and we all swoon! Melancon was the epitome of a professional.

      • So does this constitute the KITCHEN SINK return that you were screaming for at the beginning of this thread?

        • Lol….no sirrrr, but it’s a good deal!! We don’t have a Chapman, we have to make deals due to resources!! If we had money, Melancon would retire here!! But I do feel they would have done a 1 for 1 deal if it were one of their better players, but Neal don’t operate like that!! It’s all about years of control and he got it with this deal. You do have to admit that this dude has upside, lets just pray for the best!! I think he can have an impact this season!! We will see!!

          • When you say, “if we had money” – do you mean the Bob Nutting that is listed as the 9th wealthiest owner in ALL of professional sports (basketball/football/baseball/hockey/soccer)?

            OH you mean if we would SPEND some of that money….i understand now….

            As far as ‘years of control’…mebbe we could sign Erik Kratz to a long-term deal as we could probably pick up his “years of control’ for a song

            • OTD….I’m sorry Brotha the cost of being a Pirate fan!! I hate it to!! But it is what it is!! But I’m a die hard man!! This is the life we live!! When you and I hit the Powerball tonite, we can give Melancon that 3yr/50 million offer!! You think he will take it??

              • to return to the buccos, definitely…i understand it is a business, but at some point, EVERY BUSINESS, realizes, it might need to take a loss at some point to make the franchise even more valuable…while we are lifers, you will not have 30k lifers at PNC every night if you keep engaging in 5 year plans for the future…you build attendance dynasties by hanging flags…you build merchandising dynasties, by hanging flags

      • Fine?!!! When my wife says fine, I know I’m in trouble. This season is O-V-E-R!

        And when your 2 games back of playoff position in loss column on July 30th, it’s not FINE to trade away the most reliable arm on the team.

        And it’s not FINE to trade him away for a LOOGY and a frickin lottery ticket SP!!

        It’s not FINE! It’s far, far, far from FINE!!!

        • If we weren’t 2/3rds into a season in which Cutch is playing below replacement level ball, Kang has fallen off the map, and Liriano is even worse, I might agree with you. But I am a realist, we do not have a championship level team like we did last year. This trade probably helps a lot for next year’s team which is looking to be a lot better than this one.

          • The same Cutch and Kang who both had 4 RBI’s in the same game on Wednesday? The same Liriano who had 13 SO’s and 0 BB’s the start before last?

            The name of the game is to win championships, not to have the best farm system, and the events of today just ruined whatever chance they had of winning this year.

            • And we have seen some good games from those guys here and there. But nothing consistent. Let’s agree to disagree, because I don’t believe in this 2016 team.

              • Puts you in some pretty lofty company. Pirates brass also doesn’t believe in this team either quite obviously.

                • Yeah well my background is in organizational development. I get what the Bucks are doing and really admire the vision and discipline of current management.

  17. People can be disappointed in the return all they want but KEEP IN MIND that the Pirates got a major league-ready LH reliever w 5 years of control. IF we didn’t ask for that, we would of had 3 prospects EASILY! I like the deal! It keeps us in contention but keep hating! Deadline isn’t over!

        • If the Pirates were 8 games under .500 this deal would make a lot of sense. But to wave the white flag over a mediocre return like this is stunning. I am curious to see how the team reacts on the field. I am afraid that this will trigger a prolonged slump.

          • If they do not spend some of the excess currency they have been hoarding(the prospects) and go get a real starter by the deadline then the team, the fans, and the sponsors can call out the front office and the ownership for tanking this year. Prospects can’t all be kept like trinkets in a display case.
            Pull the trigger Neal….go get that arm. Our schedule is that weak.

    • it DOES NOT keep us in contention – SEASON OVER…i would rather stand pat, give him a qualifying offer and if he walks, we pickup the 30something best player in the country

        • How do you figure, genius? The team has already spoken – they believe we are in sell-off mode and they responded by laying down to the brewers for 2 games

      • That’s if he walks. The highest paid closer in MLB right now is Jonathan Papelbon and Chapman at $11 mil. Qualifying offers for next year are estimated at $16.7 mil. I think you can do the math there.

        • Yea, subtracting a sledge hammer closer from your bullpen is not going to make your team better…fact is Zach, all of the so-called big spender clubs are now doing the same thing the bucs were doing with the sabremetrics and farm system building only they can do it WAY better….Teams like the Yankees are beginning to realize that they can spend $11m on a closer, than flip him for $20m worth of prospects if they arent going to win…which will result in the bucs forever being left in the dust…..They don’t hang banners for the best farm systems & flags fly forever

  18. This return is for two months of a closer who does not have swing and miss stuff. Not dissing melancon at the slightest but he is NOT chapman. No matter what pirates fans think.

    I don’t think the pirates are done dealing. This move made sense. Rivero goes into the late inning mix and likely Watson or Feliz closes. In closer type of games Feliz or Watson pitch anyway so not sure how big an impact this is. I could also see the Pirates add a reliever for 2016 someone like Jeanmar or jimmy johnson.

  19. According to media reports out of DC, the Bucs also are adding some $$$ in the package. Needless to say, I am disappointed in the return.

  20. My first take is that we got certain long-term value in Rivero. Add Hearn to the increasing number of potential high-end prospects for our high-end coaching staff.

    • Yea, if only we would care about the AAA championships like the world series, than I would be super jazzed….facts are this, no matter what publications say about our prospects, FACTS show that the cubs and cardinals systems are considerably better at generating impact talent; couple that with them being better at the major league level cannot help but make this lifetime bucco fan very sad

      • And they have been better. But that’s all changing now. Bucs will be the ones bringing up impact players the next few seasons.

        • So you are saying we have a Kris Bryant or a Kyle Schwarber type of talent? a Baez? an addison russel? a rizzo? The Cubs are doing what they are minus Schwarber – that would be like us losing a Polanco like offensive talent for this year

  21. I like the move. If he walked, we get nothing in return. Couple that with the fact that Rivero has the velocity on heater combined with a solid change up, what’s not to like?

      • I don’t see anyone waving a white flag just yet. Let’s see how it plays out. We’re fighting for a wildcard spot for sure, but this year’s team is going to really have to have a major amount of things go right to not only make the playoffs but advance deep into them. I want them to win, I just think the next two or three years can be something special if we play our cards right. Just my humble opinion.

    • I don’t like the fact he really hasn’t had very good results to latch the so called talent he has. I like pitchers that produce.

    • if he walked, we would receive a competitive balance pick (one of the 30 best picks in the country) – not sure why this fact is continuously being glossed over

      • Don’t we have to make a qualifying offer in order to get the comp pick? The Pirates take a risk in that scenario of having to offer him a boatload of $ and I’m confident from his interviews that he would happily accept it. Small market clubs can’t afford that type of cash on bullpen arm imo.

        • WE R NOT SMALL MARKET!!!!!…..FFS….just so EVERYONE is clear on this, MLB does not even approve franchises in SMALL MARKETS and this city has 3 major sporting franchises!! We are a mid-market city – i don’t think that, Nielsen thinks that…Pirates COULD afford a $150m-$200m payroll – they CHOOSE not to…..instead, electing to pay $100m and another $25m? on peeps to spread this small market political garbage….

          • Lighten up Francis. I’m all about being passionate about sports, but my opinion is just that. I’m allowed to feel however I want to as are you. No need to capitlize words to try and make your point.

            • they won 98 games last year and instead of trying to build upon that and to take us to the next level, we went backwards in the offseason….the cubs won 97 and realized they needed more in the offseason and went for it…the cardinals…while we all contemplate how poorly the niese deal went…there was another move this off-season which was actually worse – morton for WHITEHEAD…check out that prospects STATs

              http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=whiteh001dav

        • we do or we could sign him longer term…..i really think he might go on and have a mariano type of career…i think we are taking him for granted….3 of the past 4 years….far sub 2 ERAs…i dont know….

          • I know it’s frustrating man. That being said, I watched the Bucs since 77 and after the 79 season things were obviously brutal. So while I want a world series just as much as anyone, I just don’t think this is the year. To many issues with the starters and the offense has a tendency to disappear for periods of time. I think the next couple of years have the potential to be really special. Hang in there bud.

            • hi mike, thanks for the encouraging words but i think a franchise owes it to its fans to go for it when you are in striking distance….after watching the final word and sports showdown shows last night, i really think both dejan and steigerwald (both of whom i despise) actually hit the nail on the head….NH and the ownership is afraid…fearful of taking that next step…it is easy to always give people hope in prospects, but that will only get you close to a championship and no further – if the pirates end up winning only 78 games this year, i honestly think the bucs should make a change and fire NH

              • Hey bud. After coming home and seeing what happened today, I’m beyond speechless…I don’t understand what just happened. Frankie,Ramirez and Reese for a Quad A pitcher?? I don’t understand the other trades much either, but this blew my mind. I think NH was hitting the pipe screaming ” I’m going to piolet the ship right at the fâ€Ēâ€Ēâ€Ēâ€Ēâ€Ēg sun” and cackling like a mad man. I’m just… confused. Straight up salary dump.

                • funny reference, Mike…..and agreed…if Nutjob had nothing to do with this, than Huntington needs to be relieved of his duties immediately……another level of this is that Shapiro (who is the BJs top dog) was the former boss of NH……very troubling

                  • I just hope we don’t see them totally tank. Max effort should still be the standard. If not, Hurdle lost the clubhouse and that’s obviously not good. I don’t think that would happen, just a worst case scenario. I’d love to see them battling for a playoff spot but I’m honestly not as optimistic at this point. I hope I’m wrong

                • still stings and i believe the negativity in the clubhouse will be on full throttle display in atlanta tonight 🙁

  22. If there was a possibility we were going to extend, it was a disappointing trade. But, we weren’t going to extend him. So we got a decent return for 2 months of Melancon. Plus, we have 2 months to see if Watson can really close.

    • Trading him doesn’t affect their ability to resign him, as they wouldn’t have done it before he hits free agency anyway. If they wanted to resign him at that point, they still could (but they obviously won’t). Point is, the only thing you lose here is the final two months of this season, not any additional probability of resigning him.

  23. Felipe rivers was very impressive in that extra inning tilt against us. I remember saying to myself that was a good bullpen arm. We shall see. Once again Neil shows he has a big pair and is not going to be swayed by fan opinion

  24. In my mind not a great deal. I thought with that many teams looking at MM the bucs could have got something better. Tell will tell but I’m not excited about this move.

    • The other thing is, why not wait until Monday? The Giants reportedly tried for MM. I’d love to know what that offer was.

      As far as disappointment goes, as a GM you don’t come out and repeatedly say you’re “looking for a Chapman-like return” and then settle for this. Always underpromise and overdeliver. The exact opposite happened here.

  25. J.P. Happ is winning his 14th game today against Orioles, 7 IP 10 Strike Outs 2 Hits, one of which is surprisingly a Home Run by Pedro!

    • Yup. Even though you “technically” can’t just exchange Happ’s record with Niese, if you could, Bucs would be sitting in 2nd WC slot, a game up on Cards.

    • Lefty’s who can hit 100 with control are pretty hard to come by. Need to see him stay healthy and learn to control his change. plus curve to go with plus plus fastball.

    • Except Eppler is in AA. 27th ranked prospect in the Nats organization? Wow. Not exactly a top 50 or top 100 prospect. Certainly woefully short of a Chapman type return. To trade Melancon at this point in the season for such a mediocre return is beyond disappointing.

      • I think NH meant a top 50 prospect in the Nats organization not nationally. The white flag is up. What a shame.

      • Oh stop being a cynic! If he didn’t ask for a 7th inning guy, he would’ve gotten the trade YOU would prefer. The trade value is worth 3 prospects

        • He originally asked for a Chapman-like return, then specifically said, “a 7th inning guy AND MULTIPLE PROSPECTS”.

          I respect what NH has done, but the number of out-and-out NH apologists out and about today is ridiculous.

          • When you negotiate, the buyer starts low and the seller starts high. They met in the middle. Enough said. Could I have wished for more in the Pirates situation still being in contention, yes but the deadline isn’t over.

  26. wow…even the apologists must be cringing at that return…Chapman-like return??? LMAO – they received a watered down version of Antonio Bastardo and a 21yo starter still throwing in single A – oh and did i mention that Hearn hasnt gotten past the 4th inning in any start since APRIL???!!!!! So now we are grabbing low minor league reclamation projects??? I think im going to be sick – this is what happens when the fanbase is hypnotized into believing that we cant afford anything…PATHETIC!!!

    • that is more than funny. Both will turn out. 2 months of Melancon… i think they did great. Like both and Felipe will do better in the burgh. Hearn looks like decent floor with high upside. Just need to develop him. Issue on this year is the team has no heart. Losing to the Brewers and Reds… that certainly needs to stop but yet it continues. Not going to make anything doing that.

      • wait till you see the swoon the bucs go into now that they know their management has given up on this season….believe me, there is far more trickle down confidence issues that will come out of this trade – team believes we are sellers now

            • You make it sound like we’re talking about the Brewers or the Dbacks! Hell, even the 2 games below .500 Rockies aren’t sellers, yet it’s ok for the 3 games above .500 Pirates to be!

              SMH!

          • dont tell the 2015 bucs that…maybe take a look at their record at the AS break….NH let controlability greed get the best of him

          • see i disagree…i think no matter where we would have been NH still pulls that trigger because our franchise is addicted to ‘controlability’…it is why we dump AS closers and 2B that we are about to lose control over…it is why our impact prospects are several years older when they finally latch on in the big leagues than any other franchise… even a bryce harper/mike trout kind of talent wouldve been in our minor league system until his mid 20s because he would need (more seasoning) – only way that doesnt happen is if they agree to sign an ownership friendly long term deal (ala polanco)

    • 21 years old is still a year below the league average and he was hurt for awhile, he’s only started four games all year. that’s why he hasn’t gotten past the 4th.

    • Hearn also has a 3.18 ERA and 3.38 FIP and strikes out almost 13 batters per nine innings to under 3 walks.

      I mean…

      So clearly his innings are just being limited, because performance doesn’t appear to be a reason for him to be pulled early.

      • In AAA, that would be something to look at…in single A ball? you could write an almanac listing the amount of players putting up those kinda numbers in single A that dont even sniff the majors, let alone be an all star………tell me, Darkstone42, are the Pirates better today??

    • I agree.. I think the pirate screwed up… they didn’t realize he was the nationals number 27 Prospect they thought he was the MLB 27 Prospect

      • i like the factual first half of your statement….i doubt i would ever say something that positive about Smizik though….

  27. Looks like Hearn has been on a type of “piggy back” start routine. Going 3 innings our of pen on a rotation type basis.
    Probably be starting in the minors for Pirates (though maybe not this year), even though may end up as reliever.

    • Seems like a bit of a project, but an awfully high upside project. Even if he ends up being a reliever, we just traded the last two months of Melancon for about 8-10 years of back-of-the-bullpen types at the worst, I think.

      • Good way to look at it.
        I wish MM the very best. He’s a quality player and I hear a quality person. He deserves to get a chance to advance past a wildcard play-in.

  28. Granted I thought we would trade him but don’t say you want the same deal that the Yankees got from chapman then trade him for lesser prospects…

    • Hearn is a lefty that hits 100mph and has a decent slider, got Randy Johnson comparisons cuz of that and his tall, lanky build. Pirates actually drafted him in 2012 but he didn’t sign so they’ve liked him for awhile. Not on Giolito, Robles, fedde level but certainly not someone to dismiss

      • I’d say at least Hearn turns into a decent future bullpen piece. Big upside pitcher that the Pirates love and a lefty.

      • Randy Johnson comparisons????!!! WTF…you are comparing a 6ft5 kid in high A to a 6ft11 HOFer? We drafted him in the 22nd round – thats how much talent they thought of him…that and the fact that 630 kids were taken before him in 2012….im sorry, but really….these apologists make me sick…they are always fantasy building for the future and im not getting any younger…..id like to see one last championship before im underground

    • Did they say that, or did we say that? Also, this deal is more about the MLB value in Rivero (5 years), not the prospect.

    • I get what everyone is saying. I have wanted to trade melancon since the chapman deal just because people were throwing stupid offers out. How the royals wouldn’t trade Davis for Gioloto is insane to me! Anyway, I just was making a statement about how the buccos came out and said they wouldn’t trade him unless they were blown away. I like the reliever we got back, and the prospect is more of a lottery ticket so who really know what will come out of this trade! I guess I wanted a little bit more just from the insane demand for bullpen help.

    • It’s called strategy! Would you want the FO to ask teams for a ML-ready reliever and a prospect then get shit on for real?

      • If the strategy is to tell everyone you have to be blown away then you take the 6th man in the BP of the Nats (who are looking to improve their BP) and a low A guy that has a 5% chance of making it as being a good strategy then this move was brilliant

    • Yeah… except they’re reporting that the Pirates are sending cash as well. If either of the 2 guys brought back gives us anything next year or in following years, it’ll be a good deal since we wouldn’t have Melancon anyway.

      • Except that we have given up on this season which we can never get back. Watching the Toronto game and when they announced the trade they said the Pirates are waving the white flag, which they thought was surprising since they are only three games back of the WC.

        • While Melancon is easily a top 5 closer, probably better than that, Watson and Feliz are capable of closing and they got a very good 7th inning guy in return. They’re hardly giving up.

          • Ever hear the old axiom about wishing in one hand and pooping in the other. That’s what your statement sounds like to me.

        • Except they really aren’t. They may not have a top five closer anymore, but they’ve got a pretty strong bullpen still anyway, bringing in Rivero to backfill the middle innings. But now they’re set up to better contend for the next several years by getting long-term value back for Melancon.

          • Must be nice to be a fan of a team which wants to win a championship. And all we got were a middling LH reliever and a lottery ticket.

            • For me personally… the past two years… Melancon’s numbers have been great but i always sweat a bit because he does things unconventionally… low strike outs and hit hard.

              • I like him and will miss him.

                Perhaps there are other moves on the horizon to signal it’s not the end of the world, or even the season.

                • think we will get a SP. We still have to find room for Locke and Niese. Plenty of arms… hoping we move one or two. Melancon was a quality guy… wish him the best. Happy we got something for him and feel good about our BP finishing the year.

                  • It would look like Niese is a goner for now. Maybe back to the Mets.
                    The $3M saving and unloading Niese’s remaining contract should net some type of SP.

          • Looks like the Bucs picked up a couple of ‘sleepers’ with Rivero stepping into an immediate role. He’s got some ML experience and should add, not only for this season but the future.

      • That sounds like when your friend is trying to set you up with a girl and he says she has a great personality.

      • What do you like about him besides years of control? He allows more FB than GB, and while his K:BB is okay, he’s certainly not efficient, nor does he pitch many clean innings.

        • Just looking at the lines..good K:BB, nice FIP. He doesn’t appear to be a lights out reliever, but there is a role he can play. Depending on who becomes closer, he may step into the 7th inning slot.

        • Good fastball, curve and changeup or slider (I’ve seen each reported) consistently average and flash above average. Meh command. Pretty good profile for a setup man type.

            • Rivero is 25, lefty, probably put in the bullpen, but may start next year. I think he is controllable for 2-3 years. The 21 year lefty can hit 100 on the gun. I think he’s in A ball. The Pirates and three other teams drafted him (don’t understand how) before Wash took him in the 5th round in 2014. If I can find the article on him I’ll post.

  29. Rosenthal is saying the Nats are “focused” on Melancon. A Byron Kerr from MASN said they are talking about Fedde and/or Lopez. They have scouts watching Lopez pitch tonight.

  30. I am glad they are aiming high. Melancon though expensive is also someone I would tender next year. The contracts of Polanco and Marte, along with other controllable assets allows them to overpay at a spot or two if need be. They will be rid of Niese’s contract, hopefully, some young arms will step up. At the tender price or a reasonable extension Melancon may still be a buc next year. That said, if they can get a chapman package it feels like a no brainer.

    • The Pirates will never pay a closer the going QO, 16million. And MM won’t get that on the open market either. In the off season I can see him getting 3/33-36, that’s it. Now, Washington may be stupid enough to give him a QO.

  31. There seems to be a gap in the league’s perception of Melancon vs. his results. Maybe we should hold on to him and offer him a three-year $30 mil deal in the offseason

  32. I don’t think Melancon will command the same return as Chapman, but they should still get a solid return regardless

  33. I keep checking for trades but it’s been fruitless.

    A trade involving MM likely will go down to the deadline. If someone will bite on NH’s asking price, it’s a good move….as long as the relief pitcher is an adequate major leaguer. Should the Pirates add to MM and deal a package? Might take that much.

    Personally, I’d rather deal for a SP.

  34. If we move Matt Joyce, he might bring high value because of the great year he is having and this would allow josh bell to fill Joyce’s role and also get some reps at first. I would also look to move Jaso and either niese or Locke.
    We can’t move The Shark unless we at least hold put and add another quality major league arm, otherwise we are sending a bad message to our fans and current players.

    • Please no Josh Bell in the OF.

      IMO, getting a near $10M relief pitcher dealt for about any return is not bad business. If the current players feel like they’re getting a bad message, maybe they should have played better in the first 2/3 of the season.

      • Yes about the playing better part. I honestly wouldn’t mind hearing a Cutch rumor or two. Sometimes you need to “send a message” like that to a player and the team. You know, “hey, you’ve pretty much sucked this season, so we want to know what we could get for you.”

        • Because he has had a very poor season, his trade value will likely be very, very low. Now is not the time to trade Cutch, unless you are merely looking to shed salary.

    • The problem is, there is a ton of Outfielders available on the market, so if Joyce becomes a target, that likely means the asking price on the other guys was too high, and we probably aren’t going to get a whole lot back for him. He is having a great year, but supply/demand and the fact he is a rental is probably going to minimize any return we could possibly get on him.

  35. This is workable with Malancon gone at the end of the season get what you can now who knows maybe he comes back as a free agent

  36. What about trading S-Rod or Joyce and bring up Hanson too same idea of gaining and losing and then trying to also give up prospects for a starter

      • Don’t see the benefit in that. He hasn’t been very good in Indy since his call up. Not the same prospect. Tried to be someone he is not- power guy. Got away from what got him to where he was in terms of offensive tools. Not sure where the value is right now in a trade chip either.
        Hopefully he’ll learn from this trying to do too much- has to stay within himself- TRUST the tools. Got some bad advise!

  37. They’re not getting a Chapman type return….This reminds me of the off-season, where they thought they could get a certain return and he ended up not getting traded.

    • I guess it depends on how loosely you define the “return.” About 90% of the value coming back to the Yankees is Torres, and 9% is Adam Warren, who was going to have to be moved anyway since he is now the 8th man in a 7-man pen (thanks to the earlier Mike Montgomery acquisition). The other two guys are extremely high risk – McKinney because of his high ground ball rate and Crawford because he’s so raw.

      If you replace Torres’ 55+ FV with a 50 FV guy – somewhere around the 80th ranked guy – you account for a substantial amount of the difference between Chapman’s and Melancon’s remaining 30 innings. You can still get an arm back (again, 8th guy in a 7 man pen), and take or leave the two fringe/non-prospects. In that respect, the Pirates could get a Chapman-lite return.

      But if they’re looking for the same profile of assets coming back, I agree with you. Not going to happen.

    • You have no clue as to what they can get. No average Joe Sixpack fan does. We can only speculate. One thing that is a fact though is that there is a critical need among top contending teams (of which the Pirates are not at this point) for a bonafide closer, especially now that Chapman is not available. The Nationals did not want to part with some of their young talent to obtain Chapman. They know that to get to and win the World Series, that they MUST obtain a closer. Perhaps they will be more willing now to pony up more for Melancon than they were for Chapman, simply because for the Nationals, it is the eleventh hour, and there are not many, if any, other options out there for them. If ever there was a time for Neal Huntington to stand his ground, demand an astronomical return, and not give in otherwise, IT IS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Very weird reporting on this. Several solid sources on both Nats and Bucs sides said “multiple prospects” and “either Fedde/Robles were included”, and then we get kicked in the nuts with this meager return.

        • They couldn’t get a decent return for Melancon over the winter. Teams, like most fans, simply don’t value a non-sexy closer that simply gets the job done.

          I was right there with you 22. Feel like this is a pretty decent trade over the winter.

        • I never used the terminology of a “Chapman-like return”. Furthermore, if you insist upon comparing the two deals, which is pointless, we won’t know for probably a good two or three years, which team got the best value. You cannot automatically conclude that because the Yankees got four players for Chapman and the Bucs got two players for Melancon that the Pirates did not get a “Chapman-like return”. Don’t confuse quantity with quality. I merely said that the market for quality closers is high right now since Chapman is off of the board. This deal sounds like a good deal for the Pirates, long-term, but only time will tell. I was hoping for a more expanded deal that would bring in one or perhaps two of the Nationals stable of young starting pitching prospects. That obviously did not happen. So, we will never know what other names were discussed and just how much the tires were kicked, so to speak, on a more expanded deal. The bottom line is that the Pirates just spent their biggest commodity and did not address their most significant need: starting pitching. But, there are still two days left before the deadline. I hope that Neal Huntington can acquire some serviceable starting pitching without having to trade Bell, Meadows, Frazier, Glasnow, or Taillon to do it. Otherwise, the 2016 season is likely over for the Bucs.

          • I may get trashed for this but Rivero looks a lot like Chapman out there. With his control, velocity, and having a really good second pitch I see some dominant seasons ahead for Rivero.

  38. As I said yesterday…ask for the KITCHEN SINK!!! If a team wants him bad enough and puts the right package up, it has to get done!!! This is who we are and we as fans have to understand that!! Behind you all the way Neal. Plus let’s be realistic, we are a .500 ball club!! We got issues that can’t be solved this season!! Root and hope for the best and get what we can get for Melancon!! I love the guy, but at the end of the day, we got to look out for our future!! Melancon will be fine!!!

  39. The Bucs are a 500 team and should move Melancon for a prospect or prospects. Next year they should go all in if the kid pitchers don’t work out.

        • Not in this case. They cannot make those kind of contracts if they want to stay good. There are bad teams all around the league that spend a lot more then the Pirates, would totally extend a player like MM and have to suffer through a crappy deal for 3-5 years, like russel martin. Great player, terrible idea to sign a deal like the blue jays did, and it worked out for us to pass. This is how we got MM in the first place.

  40. To me this makes total sense. I don’t know why teams are either “sellers or buyers” purely. If the Pirates can get value for Melancon while also shoring up the 2016 bullpen it makes good sense. Pretty clear the Pirates aren’t gonna sign MM and it is also very rare for a closer to succeed many years in a row. I think Pirates could also do two separate deals to accomplish this. Melancon deal for prospects and then pick up Jimmy Johnson or Jeanmar Gomez for pen.

  41. I agree that a 50-100 prospect and a 7th-inning guy with Feliz and Watson moving back an inning would make sense for both sides. Melancon definitely has a closer’s mentality, so a team with a decent 7th/8th inning guy should still be interested.

    Even better would be to package Melancon with another asset and bring back a little better prospect (not to say that we couldn’t identify a lower ranked guy that is every bit as good as higher ranked guys). A lot of teams could use Freese and if we know we can’t bring him back, we might be best off trading him now (it would be big loss, though).

    • Clearly they aren’t going for it so sell all viable assets for max returns available.
      Recall return acquired for Snider, repeat x Freese Joyce Jaso Stewart MM etc.
      Like Brault we can reap benefits for years to come.

      • If they weren’t going for it, they would have brought up Bell, Kuhl and probably Diaz to stay. They’re still going for it, but in a very Huntington “don’t panic/last mover advantage” sort of way.

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