The Washington Nationals have acquired veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon from their long-term opponents the Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals are keen to upgrade their bullpen for the pennant race.
Earlier, the All-star repeatedly revealed he wants the Phillies to trade him. Finally his wish was granted on Wednesday.
The complicated deal displaced the successful Drew Storen from ninth-inning duty as the Nationals landed Papelbon for prospect Nick Pivetta.
Papelbon’s remaining part of the $4.5 million salary of 2015 will be covered by the Phillies as per the agreement, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.
The 27-year-old Storen is out as a closer for the second time from the ninth inning role for a veteran despite having a strong season, which recorded 29 saves in his name in 31 chances with a 1.73 ERA. Earlier, in 2013, Nationals roped in Rafael Soriano in the offseason. Storen blew game five of the 2012 NLDS against the Cardinals, which sparked the move.
“All I’m going to say is obviously I’m aware of the move,” Storen said. “Talked to Mike [Rizzo] about it, talked to my agent. We’ve had some ongoing discussions. Until those have progressed, I’m just going to leave it at that.”
But the move reflects the team’s uneven bullpen as a whole.
“Papelbon is our ninth-inning pitcher,” National’s General Manager Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday’s Miami match. “Drew will pitch the ninth inning at times when Papelbon is not available and be our setup guy in the eighth inning as we are constructed today. … We feel we’ve got two terrific, elite ninth-inning guys.”
“This guy wants to win,” Rizzo also said, hailing Papelbon. “First and foremost, he wants to win. He’s a winner. He’s won his whole career. He excels in pressure situations and that’s his personality. Does it grate on the opposition at times? Yes, it does, but he comes with high credentials, high praise from his teammates and guys who have been around him.”
Papelbon is expected to feature in National’s colors on Wednesday.