Nationals acquire All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon

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By Kyle Brostowitz  

The Washington Nationals acquired All-Star right-handed pitcher Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Minor League right-handed pitcher, Nick Pivetta. President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements. Papelbon, a six-time All-Star and one of the most prolific closers in Major League Baseball history, joins the Nationals after spending the last three-plus seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. He is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA (7 ER/39.2 IP) and is 17-for-17 in save opportunities this season. He has tallied 40 strikeouts, issued eight walks and has allowed opposing batters to hit .211 against him. He is one of only three MLB closers to be perfect in save opportunities and ranks among National League relievers in ERA (7th, 1.59) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (T10th, 5.00),

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 05:  Closer Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the tenth inning during the game against the  Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, GA – JULY 05: Closer Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the tenth inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Since assuming the closer’s role for the Boston Red Sox in 2006, Papelbon has converted 342 saves, the most in Major League Baseball during the last 11 seasons. His 342 saves are good for 12th in MLB history and are third-most among active pitchers. He also ranks among MLB relievers in strikeouts (1st, 727), strikeout-to-walk ratio (5th, 4.85), walks and hits/innings pitched (6th, 1.00) and ERA (8th, 2.30) since 2006.

In 2014, he became just the fifth reliever in MLB history to convert at least 25 saves in nine consecutive seasons, joining Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, John Wetteland, and Troy Percival. On June 10 vs. San Diego, he became the 26th pitcher in MLB history to record 300 saves, tying Trevor Hoffman as the second fastest player to reach the 300 save mark.

Papelbon converted 39 saves in 2014, his most since converting a career-high 41 saves for the Boston Red Sox in 2008. He ranked among National League relievers in save percentage (T4th, 90.7%), saves (T5th, 39), walks and hits/innings pitched (8th, 0.90) and opponents OPS (9th, .500). With 66 games pitched, he appeared in 50 or more games for the ninth straight season and 60 or more for the seventh year in a row. On August 26, 2014 vs. Washington, he converted his 100th career save as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies and became the first player in MLB history to convert at least 200 saves in one league (AL, BOS – 219) and 100 saves in another league (NL, PHI – 123).

Papelbon, 34, is 37-30 with a 2.32 ERA over his 11 Major League seasons with Boston (2005-2011) and Philadelphia (2012-2015). He was selected in the fourth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State University. During his time with the Phillies, he supported youth living in Philadelphia-area foster programs through his participation in “Papelbon’s Pen” charitable ticket program. He and his wife, Ashley, have a daughter, Parker, and a son, Gunner.

Pivetta, 22, was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of New Mexico Junior College. He was 7-6 with a 3.02 ERA in 18 games/17 starts between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.

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