Phillies Shopping Jonathan Papelbon

WEDNESDAY: The Phillies are "selling the crap out of [Papelbon]," one executive told Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly. The Phillies are willing to pay some of Papelbon's salary to facilitate a trade, according to Salisbury. One source told Salisbury that the Phillies approached the Indians and offered to pay part of Papelbon's salary, but the Indians weren't interested.

SUNDAY: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also hears that the Phils are shopping Papelbon, adding that there's a belief that the Phils would like to reallocate Papelbon's salary to a starting pitcher (Twitter link).

FRIDAY, 6:45pm: The Red Sox are one of the teams on Papelbon's no-trade list,'s Rob Bradford reports (Twitter link).  With Koji Uehara closing and the likes of Junichi Tazawa and the newly-acquired Edward Mujica as bullpen depth, it's very unlikely the Sox would've had interest in bringing Papelbon back anyway.

2:47pm: The Phillies are trying to trade Jonathan Papelbon, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Phillies could move the right-hander, who is set to earn $13MM in each of the next two seasons, and look to sign a more affordable closer, Rosenthal adds in a second tweet. Papelbon's deal also has a $13MM vesting option for the 2016 season that triggers if he finishes 55 games in 2015 or 100 games between 2014-15. Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly adds (via Rosenthal) that Papelbon's no-trade protection allows him to select 12 teams to which he will approve a deal.

Papelbon, 33, saved 29 games and posted a 2.92 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 61 2/3 innings for the Phillies in 2013 — the second season of a four-year, $50MM deal. Though his superficial numbers appear strong, Papelbon's average fastball velocity dropped to a career-low 92 mph, and his 10.6 percent swinging-strike rate was also the lowest of his career.

Papelbon's name surfaced in trade rumors over the summer, as he was believed by some to be available with the Phillies looking to shed payroll and get younger. Papelbon made some incendiary remarks about the direction of the Phillies in July, flatly stating, "I definitely didn't come here for this." Asked about the contract in retrospect, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said in August that he would make the signing again and had no regrets other than they way the team has played as a whole. In an interview later that month, Amaro called Papelbon "crucial" to the Phillies' success and said he expected to see Papelbon closing out games for the Phils in 2014.

It's a tough time to be shopping an expensive closer, as the market bears plenty of options in the form of Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Fernando Rodney, Chris Perez, Jose Veras and John Axford. Amaro could likely increase interest if he were to show a willingness to sweeten the pot by eating some of Papelbon's salary. Otherwise, Papelbon is a tough sell at two years and $26MM in a market where Joe Nathan commanded just a two-year, $20MM contract.

40 Responses to Phillies Shopping Jonathan Papelbon Leave a Reply

  1. Spencer James 2 years ago

    *Typical Yankee Fan Trade Proposal*

    Lee, Pap, and Utley for Sanchez, Gardner, and Pineda

    • Matt Mccarron 2 years ago

      Phillies got 3 outfielders and a catcher already. Utley won’t get traded after signing a 5 year extension (2 years + 3 vesting options) and Lee could get Sanchez and Pineda alone considering Pineda is worthless at the moment.

      • Spencer James 2 years ago

        Ahh yes, but it’s a typical Yankee fan trade proposal. Pineda if healthy, could probably be a #3 or #4 in that rotation.

        • Matt Mccarron 2 years ago

          I think Lee and Papelbon for Pineda, Sanchez and Tyler Austin would make more sense. Throw in Utley for Gardner I guess if you wanted to.

          • Spencer James 2 years ago

            Color me shocked if that deal gets done.

  2. Jonathan T. 2 years ago

    You made your bed Ruben. Now lie in it.

  3. Jeff Miller 2 years ago

    That’s not a bad proposal. If I were the Phillies I’d then flip Romero and Ackley to the Dodgers for Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling.

    • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

      Ruben Amaro, Jack Z, and Dodgers GM should do a video conference call in Around the Horn on ESPN-esque chat on the three way trade. That sure will fire up the fans of those three teams.

  4. Too bad Barry Zito’s contract is up.

  5. Pei Kang 2 years ago

    I agree with you, but Yankees’ FO isn’t known for their patience with younger guys. Pap after all has ‘veteran’ appeal, for whatever that’s worth.

  6. Tko11 2 years ago

    Or not…

  7. The Sox don’t miss him.

  8. Jeff Miller 2 years ago

    Papelbon + $5M/year and Antonio Bastardo to the Diamondbacks for Matt Davidson and either Brandon Drury or Matt Stites. Then flip Davidson to the Dodgers for Joc Pederson.

    Diamondbacks gets 2 proven relievers, Dodgers get a 3B and the Phillies get an outfielder and either a near ready reliever or 1B down the road.

    • Cam Hodgson-Dwyer 2 years ago

      I can’t see the Dodgers trading Joc for a guy who’s just broken into the bigs. Seems to be every indication that the Dodgers are looking for a stop-gap until Seager is ready. Everyone loves competition but..they are pretty committed to this kid.

      • Jeff Miller 2 years ago

        They could very well be committed to Seager, but he’s 2 years away assuming he continues to progress. Davidson is big league ready, but now blocked by Martin Prado in Arizona and Pederson is in the same situation and blocked by Kemp, Crawford and Ethier.

        Assuming Seager continues to progress then you’ve got a problem most teams would love to have, a logjam at 3B, and a valuable trade chip in him or Davidson.

        • Cam Hodgson-Dwyer 2 years ago

          You’re pretty spot on, it’s a problem teams would absolutely love to have.

          I know Joc has performed extremely well in the minors, so good a call up this year could be on the cards. I don’t quite know how high the Dodgers really are on him. He seems to be one of those guys that a team could really covet having in their system, but..a prospect is a prospect still, Really interesting proposal you’ve made!

  9. Mike1L 2 years ago

    He does have talent. On the other hand, he’s always been a headcase and he’s very expensive. When your team is contending, you can put up with that…

    • EightMileCats 2 years ago

      He did have talent. His peripherals have been dropping year by year

  10. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

    Good reliever but in every season since 2011 his velocity and k/9 have dropped and his WHIP has risen. I would not trade anything of value for him.

  11. Bertin Lefkovic 2 years ago

    I know that this is going to seem crazy on the surface, but what about an Ichiro for Papelbon swap? It seems to me that this is roughly the same as having the Phillies eat $6.5MM of Papelbon’s contract, which they would have to do anyway. At least this gives them a player in return who could contribute in 2014.

    Assuage Robertson’s ego by giving him a long-term contract that will pay him something between setup and closer money ($6-8MM/year) over the next five years or so.

  12. bust0ff 2 years ago

    Does anyone else think that this should have been done at the previous trade deadline?

    • EightMileCats 2 years ago

      That’s obvious now. There was lots of speculation they could’ve had Castellanos for him(which I highly doubt), but they would have at least gotten something of value

      • Matt Mccarron 2 years ago

        I heard more rumors of Garcia and Rendon, which I thought would of been a great deal for both teams.

      • bust0ff 2 years ago

        It seemed obvious to me back then. I thought RAJ was simply being stubborn.

  13. DerekJeterDan 2 years ago

    Ichiro to the Phillies, Papelbon to the Yankees. Everybody’s happy.

    • Jeff Miller 2 years ago

      As a Phillies fan I would not be happy with that deal.

      • sackseph 2 years ago

        Why not, Ichiro is only signed for 1 year for a lot less money. With the savings you can buy out Ichiro and still have spare cash left

    • BigPattyG 2 years ago

      By “everybody” you mean the Yankees?

  14. abbatoirnoises 2 years ago

    I thought Robertson got a chance last year when Mo was out and he struggled, that’s why they went with Soriano. I didn’t follow it that closely, maybe there was another reason they didn’t use him to close.

  15. abbatoirnoises 2 years ago

    They should have tried moving him at the trade deadline, there are too many cheaper free agent options out there to get much back at this point.

  16. thekoshow 2 years ago

    Wonder if the Rockies could be interested if the Phils eat a good amount.

    • Jeff Miller 2 years ago

      Probably not. They have Rex Brothers closing games right now. He’s young, cost controlled for 4 years and really good at the back of the bullpen.

    • Matt Mccarron 2 years ago

      Doubt it considering they got Rex Brother, Hawkins and Wilton Lopez.

  17. Matt Mccarron 2 years ago

    Papelbon and Cesar Hernadez to the Yankees for Shawn Kelley, Tyler Austin and Zoilo Almonte. Phillies give in 3M

  18. Joe Orsatti 2 years ago

    I predict that they wait until Benoit and Rodney are off the market and then go after that one team that waited too long. Texas, Yankees could be possible, Cleveland, Seattle, Baltimore all could use an upgrade at closer. Cleveland is absolutley desperate as is Seatte, Yankees and Texas are probably looking around for an upgrade. I’m assuming all but Baltimore would be willing to eat the cash if nobody is left in February. There are 5 teams and 3 dominant closers left on the market, and not everybody is going to be happy, Phillies on the other hand have Diekman who I believe is closer material, he just needs to get some reps in the 9th.

  19. bobbleheadguru 2 years ago

    Too many options available for a lot less money. The market is very soft. Nathan will make less money and is a better pitcher, and Tigers did not have to give up anyone for him.

    Maybe better to wait until the Trade deadline now.

    • Jeff Miller 2 years ago

      The problem with waiting until the deadline is if somehow the Phillies manage to stay completely healthy they’ll probably play around .500 ball. Ruben won’t move him if that happens. If they’re not in contention, the trade market will likely be limited to the teams in contention and how often do those teams not have a reliable closer?

  20. Nick Munyat 2 years ago

    Cashman is too smart for that deal, and Gardner is way too young for RAJ. RAJ would come back and pay 50% of Papelbon’s salary to take Ichiro and A-Rod.

  21. Nick Munyat 2 years ago

    Honestly, I have to imagine that, unless Papelbon gets a serious attitude adjustment quickly, the Phils will release him mid-season if/when the team starts out poorly.

    Or, you know, RAJ will extend him for 5 more years, with player options for years 6 & 7.

  22. mack22 2 years ago

    You sure would make the Red Sox happy.

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