The Phillies are in serious talks to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Milwaukee Brewers per a report by Yahoo Sports. This would put an end to one of the rockiest relationships between a Philadelphia athlete and Philly’s fan base in recent memory.
Jonathan Papelbon signed a four-year deal worth $50 million that lasts until the end of 2015 with a vesting option for 2016. Overall, his numbers as the Phillies closer are far from terrible, but to many he symbolizes the downfall of the franchise. When Papelbon signed with the Phillies, he came to town expecting to win. In a few short years, the Phillies now have the longest odds in Vegas to win the World Series. Fans look at the money Papelbon received and believe the Phillies could have been more competitive if the funds were allocated to other parts of the roster.
Still, Papelbon’s 2.04 ERA and 39 saves last year were impressive. If fans can look past the occasional remark or rude gesture that Paps makes on the field, he should be viewed as a more than adequate closer for the Fightins. There is no denying that Jonathan Papelbon brings his A game every time he pitches. However, his velocity has decreased and trading him now (even if the club has to eat some salary) may be the Phillies best option for the future. The team has their next closer, Ken Giles, on the roster. It is just a matter of time until he takes over.
It’s hard to see why the Brewers would go after Papelbon at this point. Their closer last season, Francisco Rodriguez, is still available as a free agent and he will likely command much less money. Papelbon also has a no-trade clause in his contract that allows him only to be traded to 17 teams. It is left to be seen if the Brewers are one of the teams on the list.
The only way that I see this deal happening is if the Phillies pay a large amount of Papelbon’s salary. It looks like the Phillies may be forced to buy their way out of the mess they’ve become.