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Saturday, December 07, 2013

Lawrence: Can Phillies realistically deal Papelbon?

Pap guidelines: Recommendations and Rationale.

“SOURCES: Phillies trying to trade Papelbon.”

That’s from the Twitter feed of Ken Rosenthal,’s leading baseball writer and arguably the reporter in the sport who breaks the most news on a regular basis. Rosenthal was the first to float out the idea of the Phillies’ trading Cliff Lee in order to acquire Roy Halladay 4 years ago this month.

With all due respect to Rosenthal - and perhaps there is a team out there, given that it takes only one - the Phillies might be trying to trade Jonathan Papelbon, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. probably would have just as much luck securing a date with Beyonce or Blake Lively.

Nothing is impossible, but trading a closer with a fat contract and an attitude problem is more difficult than getting Kate Upton to escort your kid to the prom.

...Papelbon is striking out fewer batters each season. In his last year with Boston, in 2011, Papelbon struck out 87 batters in 64 1/3 innings. In his first season with the Phillies, 2012, Papelbon struck out 92 batters in 70 innings. This season, he struck out a career-low 57 in 61 2/3 innings. Papelbon’s strikeout rate (strikeouts per nine innings) has gone from 12.17 to 11.83 to 8.32 in the same time frame. His 8.32 strikeout rate this season was a career low.

Papelbon has been striking out fewer batters, in part, because he no longer has the same zip on his fastball. In his last season with Boston, Papelbon’s average fastball clocked in at 95 mph, according to In 2012, his average fastball was 93.8 mph; last season, it was 92 mph, not surprisingly, also a career low.

And then there’s his volatile clubhouse personality.

Repoz Posted: December 07, 2013 at 01:10 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies

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   1. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 07, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4613035)
There are plenty of reasons the Phillies would want to trade Papelbon. He is owed $26 million over the next two seasons

No, he's owed $39M/3 unless he doesn't finish 100 games the next 2 years (which he's done every 2 years of his career since his first full year).

If I'm Houston I'd take him for free, make him a setup man for first month or two so he's unlikely to finish 100 games the next two years, then showcase him for contenders hoping to flip him at deadline. I'm thinking if he shows any rebound at all, a contender would be very willing to part with a pretty prime prospect if I eat his 2014 salary and his 2016 vesting option is dead. Essentially a year and a half of Pap at $13M seems like it would be catnip to any contender with a weak bullpen (hello Detroit!).

Of course this fantasy can never come true given his no trade clauses.
   2. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: December 07, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4613052)
I think this writer is going for a Pap smear.
   3. jacjacatk Posted: December 07, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4613062)
Leave it to RAJ to decide trading him makes sense at the point where his value is likely to be the lowest. Moving him at the trade deadline last year, or waiting for it this year, would make too much sense.
   4. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 07, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4613081)
Papelbon in 2006 had the greatest WAR season ever as a modern usage closer. He's been pretty much downhill since and is pretty much run-of-the-mill and wouldn't be too hard to replace.
   5. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 07, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4613105)
Of course this fantasy can never come true given his no trade clauses.

Is Houston not one of the 12 teams he can be traded to? In any case if the Phillies eat the 2014 salary they can basically auction him off to those 12 teams, no?
   6. JRVJ Posted: December 07, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4613143)
I see nothing wrong with TRYING to trade Papelbon during this off-season (it would be irresponsible of Amaro not to at least TRY to trade Papelbon).

As to actually TRADING him or not, obviously that would depend on the offer.
   7. ptodd Posted: December 07, 2013 at 07:34 PM (#4613193)
Phillies should lift their ban on Toradol if they want Papelbon to pitch as well as he did with the Red Sox

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