Well, this is quite a big move in the National League playoff race:

The details will continue to trickle out, but the upshot here is that the Pirates are rather savvily trading an expiring asset in Melancon (free agent after this season) when they can maximize his value. When the Nationals didn’t get Aroldis Chapman, it was pretty much always a fait accompli that they’d get a big-time reliever somehow.



The Nationals have the second best record in baseball, behind only the Cubs. They lead the NL East by 6.0 games.

The Pirates are 5.0 games out in the Wild Card race (9.5 games back in the NL Central). Does this mean they’re going to sell off other parts? Or are they just selling off an asset while they can, and still try to compete? I tend to think the latter. We’ll see.



The Cubs related impact here is that the Pirates probably just got a little weaker (though Rivero is pretty good), which could help the Cubs a touch down the stretch. The Nationals got a lot better, though, and they already project to be a playoff team, like the Cubs. So … mixed impact, I guess.



UPDATE: It’s official:




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