DECEMBER 18: That list was apparently the one in effect for 2015, as Crasnick now provides a list that, he says, will be in effect for the year to come. It is the same as the prior iteration except for four changes.
On this new list, the Braves, Reds, Royals, and Mariners have moved into the group of teams to which Papelbon can reject a trade. Meanwhile, the Giants, Phillies, Tigers, and Yankees are now among the clubs to which Papelbon may freely be dealt, without his authorization.
Papelbon can block deals to the following clubs: the Athletics, Blue Jays, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Marlins, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Rockies, Tigers, Twins, White Sox and Yankees. The league’s remaining teams can acquire the controversial veteran without his approval.
No-trade lists tend to reflect both personal preferences and strategic considerations. It’s hard to know the precise motivations here, but it’s worth remembering that Papelbon has previously made good use of his no-trade rights in exerting leverage. In approving the trade that sent him to D.C. last year, Papelbon received assurances he’d be used as the closer and picked up a guarantee of his 2016 option (though that would have vested anyway and he took a discount to facilitate the move).
While an exceedingly public spat with star Bryce Harper has led to wide speculation that Papelbon will be dealt, Nats GM Mike Rizzo has maintained that the team won’t simply cut him loose for whatever it can get. Papelbon is neither cheap ($11MM) nor young (35), but he’s continued to produce quality results and represents a fair value from a pure baseball perspective.