Sep 11, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (58) during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Padres 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Rosenthal: Philadelphia Phillies “Trying To Trade” Jonathan Papelbon


Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Just when you thought that a relatively quiet Phillies off-season would pass with the only major moves being the signing of Marlon Byrd, bringing back Carlos Ruiz, and trading Erik Kratz to the Toronto Blue Jays, the hot stove appears to be heating up for the ‘Fightins, with the MLB winter meetings  looming.

 

This is a move that I would highly endorse. As much as I liked Papelbon in his first season with the Phillies, he has decreasing velocity on his fastball, has shown a decreasing motivation to be in Philly, and perhaps most importantly, a contract that looks bad now, and will only get worse over the next two seasons.

Rosenthal reminds us of the remaining details of the four-year/$50 million deal that lured Papelbon away from Boston during the 2011 off-season.

 

Based off of his 2013 performance (seven blown saves), I would jump at any chance to move him. The problem is that teams are very cautious about bringing an ego like Papelbon into their locker room, especially given the steep amount of money that he is guaranteed the next two seasons.

Courtesy of SpotracPapelbon will need to finish 55 in games in 2015 or 100 combined between 2014 and 2015 for his $13 million option for 2016 to vest. Perhaps the the fact that it is extremely unlikely that Papelbon will be able to do either of those, makes him a bit more tradeable.

Still, Papelbon can be very picky about which teams that he accepts a trade to.

 

I think getting rid of an expensive player who is declining (sounds like most of the Phillies) and has shown the potential to be a clubhouse distraction, would be a great move regardless of what return you get. Addition by subtraction of sorts.

Good luck trying to get a team to take on his contract given his declining performance, though. And the fact that he has a limited no-trade clause clause might mean that for him to agree to any trade, he would expect his new team to guarantee him the $13 million in 2016. Teams won’t be eager to do that unless the Phillies eat most of his deal. Don’t expect Pap to be moved at next week’s winter meetings.

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