Jonathan Papelbon is willing to waive his no-trade clause in order to facilitate a deal to a contending team, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links). Gelb quotes the Philadelphia closer: “Some guys want to stay on a losing team? That’s mind-boggling to me. I think that’s a no-brainer.”
Papelbon’s comments are a stark contrast to the comments made by teammates Jimmy Rollins (link) and Chase Utley (link), each of whom recently indicated that they prefer to remain in Philadelphia even if the team begins selling veteran pieces this month.
Papelbon is in the midst of his best season in years, having pitched to a 1.27 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 37 percent ground-ball rate. His strikeout rate and 91.4 mph average fastball velocity are both career-lows, but Papelbon has been effective nonetheless.
However, Papelbon is owed $5.83MM through season’s end and is also guaranteed a hefty $13MM in 2015. Beyond that, he has a $13MM vesting option for 2016 that triggers with 55 games finished in 2015 or 100 games finished from 2014-15 (he finished his 30th game tonight). As such, the Phillies will likely have to kick in some cash to facilitate a trade. Plenty of contending clubs are looking for bullpen help, including deep-pocketed teams such as the Tigers and Angels.