Results tagged ‘ Jonathan Papelbon ’
It has been a question worth asking. Papelbon needs to finish only 48 games this season to automatically vest a $13 million club option for 2016. That should be a cinch, if he is healthy and continues to close. Papelbon has finished no fewer than 52 games each of the previous eight seasons, and has averaged 56.4 games finished in that span.
The option is noteworthy because the Phillies have had problems trying to trade Papelbon because of his salary. He makes $13 million this season, plus the potential for $13 million more in 2016.
Teams do not want to pay that much for a closer.
Many have wondered if the Phillies could simply demote Papelbon for Ken Giles, who had an impressive rookie season last year. The Phillies could say Giles is getting the job as part of a youth movement, which would scuttle Papelbon’s chances at the option.
That would make him more desirable in a trade.
Papelbon said he would be surprised if the Phillies approached him during the season and said they planned to make Giles the closer.
“I think that they know my stance on closing,” he said. “That’s what I am. I’m a closer. I think if the team decides to go that route, then so be it. Then they go that route. I’ll continue my route with this Major League career that I’ve had and move on.”
But again, the Phillies have said that is not happening as long as Papelbon is performing. He has posted 106 saves (seventh-most in baseball) and a 2.45 ERA (16th out of 137 qualifying relievers) in his three seasons in Philadelphia. If the Phillies suddenly pull him despite pitching well, he very well could file a grievance with the Players’ Union.
Two sources said this evening that talks are alive, although the seriousness of those discussions is unclear. Yahoo! Sports first reported Friday that the Phillies and Brewers were in serious negotiations. FOXSports.com mentioned the Blue Jays’ interest.
In the following days, reports surfaced that a deal with either team is unlikely.
But that has not stopped them from continuing to talk about Papelbon.
Both teams need a closer and Papelbon would fill a void, but there are serious sticking points. First, Papelbon will make $13 million this season. He also has a $13 million club option for 2016 that automatically vests if he finishes just 48 games this season. The Phillies will have to eat some of that salary to make a deal happen. Second, Papelbon has limited no-trade rights and he might require a team to pick up the club option before he waives his rights, although he said in July his no-trade rights would not be an issue.
Third, the Phillies want something of value in return if they agree to eat a bunch of salary. Can they get what they want?
Papelbon went 2-3 with a 2.04 ERA and 39 saves in 43 opportunities last season. His 90.7 save completion percentage ranked sixth out of 29 qualifying closers in baseball. His 0.90 WHIP ranked 19th out of 185 qualifying relief pitchers.
“Some guys want to stay on a losing team?” he said, expressing a desire to be traded. “That’s mind-boggling to me.”
Yahoo! Sports reported today that the Phillies and Brewers have been in serious discussions about sending Papelbon to Milwaukee – the same place he expressed his desire to be traded — although it will not be easy. Papelbon has a limited no-trade clause and reportedly can block a trade to Milwaukee, although it is highly unlikely he would if given the choice. He also makes $13 million this season and has a 2016 club option worth $13 million that automatically vests if he finishes 48 games this season.
Papelbon is likely to ask a team to pick up the club option before he waives his no-trade rights, although getting the option to automatically vest should not be an issue if he stays healthy. He has finished no fewer than 52 games each of the previous eight seasons, and has averaged 56.4 games finished in that span.
But the prospect of spending another season in Philadelphia might be enough for Papelbon to accept a trade. The Phillies are trading their veterans and said they are unlikely to contend again for another three seasons. It is worth noting similar reports surfaced about Roy Oswalt in 2010, saying he absolutely would not accept a trade to Philadelphia unless the Phillies picked up his 2012 club option. But in the end, faced with spending another season in Houston or getting a shot at a World Series in Philadelphia, Oswalt waived his no-trade rights without the option being picked up.
Papelbon vigorously shook his head no in July when asked if his no-trade clause would be an issue in facilitating a trade.
But the Phillies and Brewers still would have to agree upon how much salary the Phillies would eat and the prospects the Phillies would receive in return.
The Brewers finished 82-80 last season, six games behind the Giants and Pirates for a National League Wild Card berth. The Brewers just traded Yovani Gallardo to the Rangers, but are looking for backend bullpen help.
Papelbon would help a contender. He went 2-3 with a 2.04 ERA and 39 saves in 43 opportunities last season. His 90.7 save completion percentage ranked sixth out of 29 qualifying closers in baseball. His 0.90 WHIP ranked 19th out of 185 qualifying relief pitchers.
His velocity has declined in recent seasons, but last season he learned how to pitch more effectively without it.
Of course, it is believed one reason Papelbon has been difficult to trade is the perception he is a problem in the clubhouse. Major League Baseball suspended him seven games in September after he grabbed his crotch after a blowing a save in Philadelphia. He also has been critical of the Phillies’ front office and coaching staff, although the team’s young relievers have said he has been a positive influence in their development.
“I think there’s a couple clubs out there that could use somebody to close,” Phillies interim president Pat Gillick said this week. “Ruben (Amaro Jr.) has talked to some people. Maybe something will materialize. But the guy has saved 120 games in three years. His record speaks for itself.”
And the notion Papelbon can be difficult?
“I hate to say Pap is Pap,” Gillick said, “but he’s a competitor who likes to win. He goes out there day in and day out. I don’t think at any time this season or during the time we’ve had him that he’s begged out of a situation. Relievers as a group are a little quirky. They’re a little different.”
If Ken Giles receives votes for National League Rookie of the Year, he might learn about it during an eight-hour shift at his 40-hour-a-week, minimum wage job at an indoor baseball facility just outside Phoenix.
Giles has spent the past few months throwing 100 mph fastballs and nasty sliders past big-league hitters, but he will spend his third offseason picking up baseballs in batting cages and giving pitching lessons.
“It gets me out of the house,” he said.
Giles, 24, entered Thursday’s series finale against the Marlins at Marlins Park with eye-popping numbers. He is 3-1 with a 1.21 ERA and one save in 43 appearances since his promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in June. He has allowed 24 hits, 11 walks and has struck out 63 in 44 2/3 innings. His 0.78 WHIP is fifth among all rookie relievers since 1914. His 5.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio is seventh and his 12.69 strikeouts-per-nine innings average is 10th.
He would be closing right now, if the Phillies could have traded Jonathan Papelbon.
Giles will not be NL Rookie of the Year. Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom (9-6, 2.63 ERA in 22 starts) is probably the favorite with others like Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton receiving more hype and attention. But voters looking closely at the numbers cannot miss Giles’ statistics.
“That stuff doesn’t really matter to me,” Giles said. “Awards are awards, numbers are numbers. It’s nice to be recognized, but other than that, who cares? Staying up here was my main concern. Do my job and perform. I’ve been waiting to do this since I was four years old. That’s all that matters to me.”
It is hard to believe, but when the Phillies sent Giles to Minor League camp in March he really needed to work on his command, particularly with his slider. It has not been an issue since his promotion.
“I’m sure I shocked a lot of people with how fast I came along,” he said. “I just busted my tail in the offseason to make sure I met those requirements. They were right to send me to the Minors. I had no problem going to Double-A, then Triple-A. It was just a matter of me getting that rhythm and that groove and getting those innings in.”
Giles will enter next Spring Training as a lock to make the bullpen, either as the setup man behind Papelbon or as the presumed closer, if Papelbon finally gets his wish and is dealt. Giles said he is fine either way.
“Pap is our leader,” Giles said. “I think right now he’s the glue of our bullpen. If he comes back next year I think he’ll be the biggest key to our success.”
Giles will head home to Phoenix following Sunday’s season finale against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. He said he will spend his mornings working out and the afternoons and evenings working at It’s All in the Game Sports Center in Peoria, which is located just behind the Spring Training facilities of the Mariners and Padres.
He gets weekends off.
He is pretty sure he the only Phillies player to work a job in the offseason.
“I just can’t sit in my house all day,” he said. “A lot of my friends go there. My brother (Josh) works there. He’s my boss, actually. I got him the job and he ended up being my boss. But it doesn’t feel like work. It’s just hanging out with a bunch of my friends.”
He pitched tonight for the first time since Major League Baseball suspended him seven games for grabbing his crotch in a perceived gesture toward Phillies fans. He maintained his innocence after the 2-1 victory over Miami, saying if he really wanted to let booing Phillies fans know he was upset with them he really could have let them know.
“It’s been rough, it’s been bad,” Papelbon said about the suspension. “I’ve just had to really try – I don’t know how to say this but – I’ve just had to try to put (umpire) Joe West in the back of my mind and carry on even though I feel like I got the raw end of the deal.”
West ejected Papelbon from a Sept. 14 game against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Papelbon had just blown a save when he rather aggressively adjusted himself before he entered the Phillies dugout. West ejected him at that point. The two argued and made contact with one another on the field with West grabbing Papelbon by his jersey and pushing him away.
MLB suspended West one game without pay for his actions.
The Phillies finish their series against the Marlins at Marlins Park on Thursday before returning to Philadelphia for the final series of the season beginning Friday against Atlanta. Ruben Amaro Jr. and Ryne Sandberg said Papelbon is their closer, inferring he will pitch in a save situation this weekend if it presents itself.
“Do I wonder about that?” Papelbon said about the fan reaction. “Do you think I wonder or do you think I know exactly what it’s going to be like?”
He knows exactly, doesn’t he?
“That’s right,” he said.
Is he looking forward to it?
“Yes, I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I wouldn’t say bathing in the boos. I’m looking forward to getting back there and pitching there. I enjoy pitching there, I really do. I don’t let the boos get to me. They don’t bother me. Like I said, I don’t hear them. For me, I like pitching in that kind of environment. Whether the fans are booing or cheering, that don’t make no difference to me.”
Of course, the league and the Phillies thought Papelbon let the boos get to him, which was why he grabbed himself and why he got suspended. The Phillies said they fully supported the suspension and apologized to fans.
“I did it because I needed a readjustment,” Papelbon said. “I truly feel like if the fans really got to me and they wanted something I would have given them a little bit more than that. Everyone has their right to an opinion and what they think. I said what I said and it’s the truth and I’m not going to waver from that. Like I said earlier, if I really, really wanted to do something back it would have been more than just a little ‘umph’ with the pants, you know what I mean? People are going to take it for what they want, you know what I mean?”
Papelbon said he did not appeal the suspension because it would have lingered into next season.
Before tonight’s game the Phillies honored Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon for last week’s combined no-hitter against the Braves.
They were supposed to stand there and tip their caps to the crowd. That’s it. But Papelbon had other ideas. He led the group behind home plate, where they met Phillies public address announcer Dan Baker. The four stood there for a moment before Papelbon grabbed the mike, beginning the most awkward and awesome 60 seconds of the season.
“I want to thank everybody. Thank the fans,” Papelbon said. “And we have someone here, on behalf of all four of us, that’s going to speak for us.”
Papelbon handed the mike to Giles, who immediately recoiled.
“Really?” Giles said.
Hamels and Diekman started cracking up.
“Well, someone put me on the spot,” Giles said. “That’s all right. Well, thank you everybody for coming and celebrating this great day for us. And, um, I don’t know, what’s, um, I feel really awkward right now. I don’t know what to say. Let’s just out there and, um … let’s play some ball right now!”
It was not a surprise. He signed a four-year, $50 million contract before the 2012 season and that contract almost certainly prevented the Phillies from dealing him. He is owed $13 million next season with a $13 million club option that automatically vests based on 55 games finished next season or 100 games finished in 2014-15.
“It’s not my decision,” Papelbon said, when asked if he wants to stay in Philadelphia. “Whatever happens, happens. I have to do whatever the GM decides to do with me.”
Papelbon has a limited no-trade clause, although he said he would have waived it. But he also said he would not have accepted a trade if he were headed to a team that already has a closer. He has no interest in being a setup man.
“I don’t set up,” he said. “And you should know that.”
Even if it meant a chance to win another World Series?
“The chance to win a World Series is with me closing,” he said. “Period.”
Interestingly, Papelbon said he met recently with Ruben Amaro Jr. about the direction of the team. He said he liked what he heard.
“Ruben had promised me that, going forward, we were still going to compete and, no matter what it took to put a winning product on the field, he was going to do it,” Papelbon said. “If he could trade me and the trade was right for both the Phillies and the other ball club, then a trade could happen. But if it wasn’t right for the Phillies, he wasn’t going to do it. At the same time, he also promised me that we were going to compete year after year and there’s no rebuilding here with the Phillies. So that was a big boost for me.”
But couldn’t those words just be empty promises? Papelbon acknowledged he did not hear an actual plan from Amaro, nor did he ask for one.
“I don’t think Ruben is a person who is just going to say something and then not be able to do it,” Papelbon said. “I think he’s honest in his decision-making, and what he says he goes out and tries to do it.”
The Phillies front office has been frustrated lately with its lack of success on the trade market, but it is still trying to complete at least one deal before Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Ruben Amaro Jr. traveled with the team to New York, where it opened a three-game series tonight against the Mets at Citi Field. But Amaro was nowhere to be found before the game as he continues to call teams to find a trade partner for a group of players that includes right fielder Marlon Byrd and left-hander Antonio Bastardo.
“Am I expecting any (trades)?” Ryne Sandberg said. “I don’t know one way or another. Just from what I hear, if there is (a trade) it’ll be very late in the process.”
Byrd and Bastardo remain the most likely Phillies to be moved, which is nothing new. Byrd is hitting .266 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs. His 20 homers are tied for eighth among right-handed hitters in baseball, which makes him valuable. Byrd can block trades to four teams, including the Mariners and Royals. He makes $8 million next season and he has an $8 million club option for 2016 that automatically vests with 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,100 plate appearances in 2014-15, including 550 plate appearances in 2015, which is a sticking point to some teams.
Left-hander Cole Hamels remains available, but the asking price remains extraordinarily high. This also is nothing new. The Phillies want to keep Hamels because he is the rare Phillies player signed to a mega contract still in his prime, but they will consider trading him if they are absolutely blown away by an offer.
Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon are unlikely to be moved by Thursday, but they could be traded in August if they clear waivers. Lee is owed at least $37.5 million following this season, while Papelbon is owed at least $13 million. A.J. Burnett remains a possibility, but he seems to be a second choice for teams still hoping for a pitcher like David Price, Jon Lester or Hamels. Burnett’s player option could be worth more than $10 million next season. The money owed to Lee, Papelbon and Burnett has made trading them difficult.
There is a real possibility Jonathan Papelbon will not get his wish to be traded before the July 31 trade deadline. There aren’t many teams looking for closers right now, and if they are they might not like the remaining money on his contract. He is owed $13 million next season with a $13 million club option in 2016 that automatically vests if he finishes 55 games in 2015 or 100 games in 2014-2015 and is not on the DL at the end of 2015 with right shoulder or elbow injury. (He has finished no fewer than 53 games in any season the past seven years.)
If that’s the case, it means he’s stuck in Philly for the foreseeable future.
If that’s the case, he is ready to accept the villain role.
Phillies fans booed him as he entered this afternoon’s 2-1 victory over the Giants. Papelbon pitched the previous two games, blowing a save Tuesday and taking the loss Wednesday. But he retired the side in order to pick up his 24th save in 27 opportunities this season. He is 2-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 42 appearances.
Do the boos bother him?
“No, I enjoy it,” he said during an entertaining (in my opinion) postgame interview.
“I just think it’s fun,” he said. “It brings a little bit of energy and life to the ballpark. It gives me a little bit of something to look forward to every day.”
So maybe the fans weren’t loud enough.
“I heard some of them,” he said.
Sure, but only about half of the ballpark booed.
“Maybe we can get the whole park booing here soon,” he said.
Why would anybody want to play on a losing team, he said recently?
But the past couple games have not helped his cause. A night after he blew his third save of the season in a 9-6 loss to the Giants in 14 innings at Citizens Bank Park, he allowed three runs in the ninth inning in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Giants. It was the first time he allowed runs in back-to-back appearances this season after allowing runs in only three of his first 39 appearances.
“I think if you were to put an entire season into two games it would be pretty dumb,” Papelbon said.
Papelbon is 2-2 with a 1.96 ERA and 23 saves in 26 opportunities, so he could help a contending team. But with the Tigers acquiring Joakim Soria from the Rangers on Wednesday and the Angels recently acquiring Huston Street from the Padres, there are fewer and fewer landing spots for the Phillies’ closer.
“Nope,” he said, asked if the news about Soria disappointed him. “I have no control over that. I don’t worry about things in life I have no control over.”
But the possibility certainly exists Papelbon could be in Philly after the 31st.
“I have no control over it,” he said. “I love the bullpen that I’m in right now. I love the guys down there. To me, it makes no difference. Whatever happens, happens. I have no control over that. What are you going to do? I don’t really worry about it. I try to prepare every day and do my best. Let the hits land where they land and let the umpires call the calls they call.”