The Washington Nationals are in the market for a relief pitcher. Jonathan Papelbon has struggled, and the team has explored lots of options, from Andrew Miller to Aroldis Chapman.
According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals are focusing in on acquiring Pirates closer Mark Melancon.
Washington has seen Jonathan Papelbon implode over the past few weeks, forcing Dusty Baker to effectively move him out of the 9th inning role.
Since the beginning of June, Papelbon has pitched in 13 games, going 2-2 with a 7.36 ERA. He has not had his trademark command, striking out 13 and walking eight in his 11 innings pitched.
This has led the Nationals to look for another back-end relief pitcher like Melancon. The 31-year-old has had a phenomenal season this year, posting a 1.51 ERA and a 38-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 41 2/3 innings pitched, saving 30 of his 33 opportunities.
Melancon would be a rental for the Nationals, as he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
In fact, this is the very reason why the Pirates would consider moving him. The team is still in contention, and they feel as if they have comparable options to handle the 9th innings. Melancon could bring in a haul for them even though they are in contention.