Tag: Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon Released by Nationals: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Jonathan Papelbon‘s tumultuous tenure with the Washington Nationals has come to an end. The Nationals announced he was officially released on Saturday.

ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick previously reported Papelbon requested his release from the Nationals. 

The 35-year-old’s role with the Nationals significantly diminished in recent weeks after the team acquired Mark Melancon before the trade deadline. 

Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post noted the move makes sense for both the Nationals and Papelbon because the team wanted to open up a roster spotit brought up minor league pitcher Reynaldo Lopezand Papelbon wanted to pitch in high-leverage situations. 

ESPN’s Sarah Langs provided another practical reason for why the Nationals would want to get rid of Papelbon:

According to Rob Bradford of WEEI, Papelbon would be open to a return to the Boston Red Sox and is “prioritzing [the] best spot to succeed” to finish the season.

If Papelbon wants to pitch in late-game situations again, it likely won’t come with a playoff contender. He has been awful in Washington this season with a 4.37 ERA, 37 hits allowed, 14 walks and 31 strikeouts in 35 innings. 

Since July 24, he’s allowed nine hits and eight earned runs in five appearances covering 3.1 innings. 

The Nationals acquired Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies in July 2015. His tenure with the team will be remembered best for a physical altercation he had with Bryce Harper in the dugout during the final week of the season.

Papelbon was in a contract year. Washington will pay the remainder of his $11 million salary for 2016. 

The Nationals hold a comfortable lead in the National League East and are preparing to make a playoff run. Moving on now from a player who didn’t want to be there is only going to help them finish the season strong. 

Given his age and performance decline this season, Papelbon should consider himself lucky if he’s able to find a team that gives him a shot to pitch again in 2016.

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Jonathan Papelbon Injury: Updates on Nationals RP’s Intercostal Strain, Return

Washington Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is suffering with an intercostal strain and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. It is uncertain when he will be able to return. 

Continue for updates. 

Baker Comments on Papelbon’s Injury

Tuesday, June 14

Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Papelbon suffered the injury warming up on Sunday, adding that participating in a postgame celebration “didn’t help.”

On Monday, Baker told reporters his closer “was feeling pretty sore, and he was ailing, so we didn’t really have Pap tonight.”

Papelbon Placed on DL, Belisle Called Up

Tuesday, June 14

According to Dan Kolko of MASN Sports, Papelbon was placed on the disabled list, and the Nationals activated Matt Belisle from the DL to take his spot.   

Nationals Have Depth to Handled Papelbon’s Absence

The Nationals did not use Papelbon in Monday’s 4-1 victory over the Chicago CubsPer Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post noted Papelbon was in the Nationals clubhouse prior to the game Monday and was “seemingly moving around as normal.” The 35-year-old pitched Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing one run and earning the win thanks to Jayson Werth’s walk-off single. 

This has been an unusual season for Papelbon. He’s still getting saves because the Nationals are one of the league’s best teams, but his fastball velocity (90.7) and strikeout rate (6.9) are the worst marks of his career, per FanGraphs. 

Papelbon has a lot of years and mileage on his arm, so it would be unfair to expect him to return to an All-Star level like he was at his peak. 

The good news for Washington is Belisle is a good reliever. He had a 2.67 ERA last year in St. Louis and a 1.50 ERA in seven appearances with the Nationals before going on the DL. 

Losing Papelbon for at least 15 days does hurt Washington’s bullpen, but the team is well equipped to keep playing well with a strong starting rotation and reliever depth. 


Stats per FanGraphs.

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Papelbon Joins Top 10 of MLB’s All-Time Saves List

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon recorded the 358th save of his career in Monday’s 2-0 win over the Kansas City Royals, moving into a tie with Troy Percival for 10th place on the all-time saves list, per Kyle Brostowitz of the Nationals’ communications department.

Working almost strictly as a closer since his 2005 rookie season, the 35-year-old righty has converted save opportunities at an 88.4 percent clip, blowing just 47 chances in his 12 MLB seasons.

He also owns a 2.35 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, having maintained his effectiveness into the latter stage of his career.

Papelbon has converted nine of his 10 save opportunities this season, allowing three earned runs on 11 hits and a walk over 11.1 innings, giving him a 2.38 ERA and 1.06 WHIP that are close to his career marks.

He could climb as high as No. 7 on the all-time saves list by the end of the year, as Jeff Reardon (367), Joe Nathan (377) and Dennis Eckersley (390) are all within striking distance.

Detroit Tigers reliever Francisco Rodriguez (393) might also be in reach, but he’s serving as his team’s closer and thus figures to pad his own total throughout the year.

With the Nationals off to an 18-7 start while carrying a plus-40 run differential, Papelbon shouldn’t be lacking save opportunities as long as he stays healthy.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Comments on Nationals, Jonathan Papelbon

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has a plan for how the Washington Nationals can recover from their disappointing 2015, and it starts with trading closer Jonathan Papelbon.

“First of all, they need to get rid of Papelbon,” McConnell told Politico on Tuesday (h/t Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com). “Getting in fights with the most valuable player in the National League strikes me as not a team-building exercise.”

Acquired in a midseason trade from the Philadelphia Phillies, Papelbon was apparently an oil-water mix with the Nationals clubhouse after his arrival. The situation culminated with a late-season dugout scuffle with outfielder Bryce Harper. Papelbon was ultimately suspended four games for the incident and recently filed a grievance against the Nationals, looking to recoup lost salary. 

Still, those within the Nationals clubhouse see the issue as being nonexistent.    

“Papelbon and Harper are fine together,” a person within the Nationals organization told Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post. “Harp just wants to win. All he cares about is that we have a 45-save relief pitcher who’s going to help us.”

Clubhouse discord at the very least played a part in the dismissal of manager Matt Williams, who has since been replaced by Dusty Baker. It does not appear the Nationals have any plans of trading Papelbon at this time either, with general manager Mike Rizzo recently telling reporters the current plan is for him to return.

Even if the Nationals were to follow McConnell’s request, they may have a tough time. Papelbon has 17 teams on a no-trade clause, per Crasnick. (Arizona DiamondbacksBaltimore OriolesCleveland IndiansColorado RockiesChicago White SoxDetroit TigersLos Angeles DodgersMiami MarlinsMilwaukee BrewersMinnesota TwinsNew York YankeesOakland AthleticsPhiladelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Francisco GiantsTexas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays.)

The senator offered additional advice, saying the club needs help in the outfield and starting rotation. 

“I think they need a solid, good-hitting outfielder because Jayson Werth is getting older and not playing many games anymore,” McConnell told Politico (h/t Ted Berg of For the Win). “We could use another starter, although I think this young guy, Lucas Giolito, down in the minors, might be their answer to Jordan Zimmermann’s departure.”

At the very least, it appears Washington agrees with McConnell regarding his outfield comment. The club made an aggressive effort to sign Jason Heyward before he agreed to an eight-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported the Nationals actually offered Heyward a $200 million contract, which is more than what he signed with in Chicago.

Either way, it’s unlikely the senator’s words will do much to sway Washington’s offseason plans—even if he does sound like a generally knowledgeable fan.


Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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Jonathan Papelbon Reportedly Files Grievance Against Nationals

Washington Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon filed a grievance against the club for failing to pay him during a four-game suspension that he served during the 2015 season, per Rob Bradford of WEEI in Boston.

The issue at hand is whether the Nationals owe him the salary they did not pay during his suspension. According to Bradford, Papelbon claims “there is no precedent of a player having his salary withdrawn after such a team-issued suspension.”

Here is video footage of the incident involving a skirmish with teammate Bryce Harper that resulted in Papelbon’s suspension, per MLB.com:

Papelbon ended up serving a seven-game suspension after MLB added three games to the team-imposed ban, shutting him down for the rest of the season.

Whether Papelbon agreed with it at the time or not, the Nationals issued a statement shortly after the incident, noting the team would not pay him during the suspension:

This creates an awkward situation for both sides. But MLB is a business, and Papelbon is trying to recoup some, or all, of the money he missed out on.

MLB has a strong players’ union, but this seems like a clear-cut case: Either the rule says a player is paid during a team-imposed suspension, or it doesn’t.

According to Bradford, no hearing date has been set for the 35-year-old closer who has amassed 349 saves during his 11-year career.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Analyzing Buzz on Robinson Cano, Jonathan Papelbon and More

The end of November is an interesting time in Major League Baseball, as it’s a time when rumors begin to simmer heading into the winter meetings in two weeks. 

There will also be an overabundance of rumors that are either false or useless. Hearing that teams are “willing to listen” on a random player says nothing because a general manager will take a phone call about any player, even if there’s no intention of moving that player. 

Sometimes, though, rumors come out that have merit or are at least worth discussing because it could be a sign of discontent with the player or team, or a franchise wants to move in a different direction and holds up a “for sale” sign. 

Here are the rumblings around MLB that warrant discussion, for one reason or another. 


Robinson Cano is Sleepless in Seattle

Scrolling through Twitter on Monday, the biggest baseball-related topic was John Harper of the New York Daily News speaking to a close friend of Robinson Cano’s, who said Seattle’s second baseman wants to get back to the Bronx. 

“But even if Cano has had the best intentions as a Mariner,” Harper wrote, “one long-time friend who spoke to him recently says the second baseman is not happy in Seattle, especially with a new regime in charge there now, and that he’d love to somehow find his way back to New York.”

One scenario that was bantered about on the interwebs was a trade of two bad contracts involving Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports shot it down:

Cano, to his credit, took to Twitter with a workout video of him getting ready for 2016 and a Mariners hashtag at the end:

There’s also the question of why Seattle would look to deal Cano at this date, other than financial relief. He’s not a superstar anymore, but his 2015 season took a dramatic turn after the All-Star break. 

It was also revealed after the season, which Harper noted, that Cano was battling stomach and intestinal injuries that required surgery. He is 33 years old and in the back half of his career, but the six-time All-Star is still Seattle’s best pure hitter. (Nelson Cruz is a better power hitter, but he’s not hitting over .300 again.)

Seattle’s quest to become a playoff team hinges on many things, which general manager Jerry DiPoto is trying to address with acquisitions like Leonys Martin to handle center field, but a healthy Cano in 2016 will go a long way. 


Nationals Want Bullpen Upgrade

In news that will surprise no one, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Washington Nationals want to upgrade their bullpen and rid themselves of Jonathan Papelbon:

Getting rid of Papelbon has felt like a foregone conclusion for the Nationals as soon as he got involved in a dugout scuffle with recently crowned National League MVP Bryce Harper. The 35-year-old had a solid 2015 season with a 2.13 ERA, 24 saves and 56 strikeouts in 63.1 innings. 

Complicating any potential trade for the Nationals is the fact that Papelbon’s value has certainly diminished because of his age and struggles after being acquired from Philadelphia (3.04 ERA, 16 strikeouts in 23.2 innings). 

Papelbon is also owed $11 million in 2016, currently tied for the second-highest salary among all MLB closers, so Washington will have to eat a lot of money to deal the right-hander. 

Aroldis Chapman is the most interesting name Stark mentioned as a potential ninth-inning replacement for Papelbon. Cincinnati’s flame-throwing lefty would certainly be an upgrade over virtually any other option, though the Reds are going to milk his market for all it’s worth. 

Heyman reported on Nov. 23 that the Los Angeles Dodgers are one of “several other teams” that have checked in on Chapman. The good news is it does seem like Cincinnati’s front office is finally serious about trading the 27-year-old. 

The bad news is a Chapman deal comes as he enters his final year of arbitration. Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com estimates Chapman will make $12.9 million in 2016 as a result. By comparison, Boston’s Craig Kimbrel is currently MLB’s highest-paid closer with an average salary of $11.25 million.

The Nationals do have money opening up with Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Ian Desmond, Dan Uggla and Denard Span coming off the books. Chapman’s salary, while exorbitant for his ultimate role, would solve a need in Washington. 

The first order of business will be dealing Papelbon, who did not ingratiate himself very well after moving to the Nationals. 


Baltimore’s Offseason Agenda

The Baltimore Orioles got an answer to one of their free-agent questions when catcher Matt Wieters accepted a one-year qualifying offer, but they still have a lot of work to do this offseason. 

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick broke down exactly what positions the Orioles need to fill or upgrade this winter:

Another key free agent the Orioles are looking to retain is Chris Davis, with ESPN’s Buster Olney reporting Baltimore owner Peter Angelos is “personally involved” in the discussions. 

The problem for Baltimore on the Davis front is he’s represented by Scott Boras, who is the master at playing the system to get his clients as much money as possible. Considering Davis had a bounce-back 2015 in which he led MLB in homers for the second time in three years, he is going to make a lot of money. 

St. Louis has already been linked to Davis by Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, who noted the Cardinals “are poised to spend heavily in free agency this winter, thanks to revenues from their new local television contract…”

Putting Davis to the side for a moment, Crasnick did note on ESPN.com that the Orioles have “examined the market for Jay Bruce and other impact hitters.” 

Going back to the beginning of the article, “examined the market” is one of those vague terms that says nothing. Crasnick put some water on the fire by adding that teams often engage the Orioles in trades by asking for pitcher Kevin Gausman or second baseman Jonathan Schoop

“Duquette is hesitant to move either player because he would just be weakening one position to strengthen another,” Crasnick wrote.

Bruce is another player who seems like a good candidate to move as part of Cincinnati’s full-blown rebuild. His value has dropped precipitously since 2014 after consecutive seasons with sub-.300 on-base percentages, though the power did return in 2015 with 26 homers. 

Given that Bruce will be just 29 in April, there’s some reason to believe he can get back to his 2013 line of .262/.329/.478 with 74 extra-base hits. It’s a long shot because he’s two years removed from that, but not out of the question because of his youth. 

The Orioles have to decide how much their hole in right field is worth, both in financial terms and trade-asset-wise. This isn’t a franchise that can open its wallet to anyone, so general manager Dan Duquette‘s ability to create flexibility will be essential if Baltimore hopes to remain competitive in the AL East.


Stats per Baseball-Reference.com; Contract info per Spotrac.com.

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Jonathan Papelbon Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Nationals P’s Future

Clubhouse headache and high-price reliever Jonathan Papelbon has surfaced as a potential trade chip of the Washington Nationals. 

Continue for updates.

Nationals GM Fielding Calls on Papelbon

Monday, Nov. 10

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported Tuesday teams have reached out to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo to discuss Papelbon and fellow reliever Drew Storen.

Papelbon supplanted Storen as the team’s closer when traded from the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the non-waiver deadline. It created an awkward dynamic, even prompting Storen to comment on the matter and admit to having discussions with his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, about his future in Washington, per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Papelbon was also infamously involved in choking NL MVP favorite Bryce Harper in the dugout late in the season, when the Nationals were out of the playoff race, courtesy of MLB (starts at 18-second mark):

Bill Ladson of MLB.com considered Papelbon “all but gone” following the incident, though the Nationals said Papelbon was in their 2016 plans when he and Harper reconciled the first week of November, per the Washington Post‘s Thomas Boswell.

Now with Rizzo mingling with GMs at the annual retreat among personnel planners, he wasn’t firm on whether Papelbon would return.

“As of today, they’re both in the bullpen [in 2016],” Rizzo said of Papelbon and Storen, per the Washington Post‘s James Wagner. “They’re both good relief pitchers. Unless someone makes us a real baseball offer, they will be.”

Both Papelbon and Storen will be free agents in 2017, and it wouldn’t be out of the realm for both to be gone by then. Papelbon will likely be harder to deal this offseason given his reputation and price tag of $11 million, per Spotrac

Rizzo and the Nationals have already made moves this offseason to return to World Series contention after missing the playoffs despite mighty expectations in 2015. 

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MLB Rumors: Latest Trade and Free-Agent Talk Entering Offseason

A week removed from baseball, MLB‘s offseason rumor mill has quickly reached full throttle with trade and free-agent chatter.

Friday foreboded a messy free-agency period when a record 20 players received qualifying offers, meaning teams must cough up a first-round draft pick to sign someone who declines the one-year, $15.8 million deal. One of those guys already has a potential suitor after his red-hot October.

Trades don’t usually develop until winter meetings, but the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays wasted little time reaching a six-player deal. Logan Morrison, Brad Miller and Danny Farquhar were sent to Tampa, while Nathan Karns, Boog Powell and C.J. Riefenhauser went to Seattle. The quick transaction could open the floodgates to more swift maneuvering.

Let’s circle the league for early offseason rumblings on the trade and free-agent fronts.


Nationals Plan to Keep Papelbon, Storen

No team fell shorter of expectations than the Washington Nationals. The preseason favorites to win it all and a virtual lock to capture the National League East, they instead missed the playoffs altogether.

A disastrous season turned even uglier when midseason acquisition Jonathan Papelbon attacked Bryce Harper—who did his part with a season deserving of MVP honors—for not running out a lazy pop fly.  

The sensible thing to do is cut ties with the guy choking teammates, but Papelbon’s younger peer instead helped calm the waters. According to the Washington Post‘s Thomas Boswell, Harper “reached out to Jonathan Papelbon to make sure their relationship as teammates is functional next season.” Not only is the hostile closer staying put, but sources within the organization told Boswell that the team also intends on keeping Drew Storen.

“In a related note, Nats people also say the team’s current plan is to have both Papelbon and Drew Storen in the back end of their bullpen again next year, with the expectation that they will work out a way to ‘play nice together,'” Boswell wrote.

Storen dazzled as Washington’s ninth-inning man, posting a 1.64 ERA into Aug. 1. Whether a coincidence or frustration over his switch to a setup role behind Papelbon, he then surrendered 16 runs—14 earned—over the final two months. He ended his season by punching a locker and breaking his thumb

The Philadelphia Phillies struggled to find a taker on the 34-year-old Papelbon due to a 2016 vesting option. Washington bit and guaranteed an $11 million option, as noted by Cot’s Baseball Contracts, which Papelbon agreed to reduce from $13 million. 

If moving an expensive reliever isn’t hard enough, moving an expensive reliever and temperamental bully who chokes superstar teammates should prove impossible. Pitching in the eighth inning is no different than pitching in the ninth inning, so the Nationals will hope Storen reverts into a lights-out setup man.


Veterans on the Trade Block

Teams hoping Washington would part with a high-end reliever can pursue another veteran reportedly available, while any team needing a left-handed bat also has a feasible target, as ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted:

One of baseball’s most reliable late-inning arms, Joaquin Benoit posted a 2.34 ERA and 0.90 WHIP for the San Diego Padres in 2015. Over the past three seasons, he has notched a 1.86 ERA and 200 strikeouts through 186.2 innings

The Padres recently exercised the 38-year-old’s $7.5-million option for 2016, a fair but steep price for a reliever, while also rostering All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel. Benoit’s lowest strikeout percentage since 2008, as noted by FanGraphs, also creates cause for concern.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers are shopping Adam Lind a year after acquiring him from the Toronto Blue Jays. The first baseman lived up to expectations, hitting .277/.360/.460 with 20 long balls. Milwaukee, however, crumbled to a 68-94 finish, creating low expectations for 2016.

During the season, Milwaukee began the rebuilding cycle by dealing Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra. Lind will return for an affordable $8 million, but the solid slugger isn’t leading the club back into contention, especially not in the loaded National League Central. 

Rather than waste steady gains from the 32-year-old, the Brewers will search for younger talent they can control beyond 2016. An affordable hitter who crushes right-handed pitchers, Lind should attract interest across the league.


Rockies Eyeing Daniel Murphy

After belting seven postseason home runs, Daniel Murphy earned a qualifying offer from the New York Mets. The National League champions have made no efforts to woo the second baseman, whose comments after the World Series indicated the end of a run.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here,” Murphy said after losing to the Kansas City Royals, via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. “I really have enjoyed my time. This organization has been great to me. I love the guys. I can’t sing their praises enough. I feel blessed to have been a Met.”

Due to Murphy’s postseason success, he’s an unlikely candidate to accept the qualifying offer. According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, one team is already interested in his services, if he’s willing to change positions:

Teams probably discuss a lot of kooky things which never see the light of day. Would Ben Zobrist be willing to play every position every game? What if we signed Bartolo Colon as a pinch hitter to increase team morale? A conversation doesn’t always lead to action.

Yet Murphy—a third baseman by trade who moved to steer clear of David Wright—has showcased uneven defense throughout his career. FanGraphs has discredited him for minus-42 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) at second since 2011, but he looked decent fielding at first while briefly replacing an injured Lucas Duda in 2015. 

Coors Field is perceived as a homer haven, but it produced more hits of any kind than any other stadium, as measured by ESPN.com’s park factors. A career .288 hitter is likely to hit comfortably over .300 there, and even if his October power surge was an outlier, he could easily hit 20 homers with the Rockies.

The Rockies would have to concede a compensatory draft pick to the Mets, but perhaps they’ll want to return the favor after New York bizarrely poached Michael Cuddyer away from Colorado last year. 

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Jonathan Papelbon Suspended by Nationals: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The Washington Nationals suspended reliever Jonathan Papelbon for four games Monday, a day after he attacked teammate Bryce Harper during a dugout altercation.

“The behavior exhibited by Papelbon yesterday is not acceptable,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “That is not at all in line with the way our players are expected to conduct themselves and the Nationals organization will not tolerate it in any way.”

In addition to the team’s suspension, Papelbon has chosen not to appeal a three-game suspension for hitting Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado on purpose in a game last Wednesday. The combined suspensions will keep him off the field for the remainder of the season.

Papelbon, 34, had a verbal altercation that turned physical with Harper after the MVP favorite did not run out a pop-out in the eighth inning. The Nationals reliever grabbed Harper by the neck and put him up against the dugout wall before the two were separated by teammates. Both players attempted to downplay the scuffle after the game, during which Papelbon allowed the game-winning runs.

“I grew up with brothers, he grew up with brothers, I view him as a brother,” Papelbon said, per ESPN.com. “And sometimes in this game, there’s a lot of testosterone and things spill over.”

“He apologized, so whatever,” Harper said. “I really don’t care. … It’s like brothers fighting. That’s what happens.”

According to Dan Kolko of MASN, Harper will not be in the lineup Monday for his part in the altercation, which drew an understandably perplexed response from Robby Kalland of CBS Sports:

It will be interesting to see if Sunday was the last time we’ll see Papelbon in a Nationals uniform. Acquired in a midseason trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, he has posted a 3.04 ERA and 1.10 WHIP since joining the club. He has seven saves against two blown chances, failing to help Washington stay in the playoff race.

At issue here is the $11 million Papelbon is owed for 2016. Even if he’s not at his peak, he is an effective pitcher who was having an excellent season in Philadelphia before the trade. In today’s MLB, $11 million for a pitcher of his caliber isn’t a massive overpay. It’s really a question of how irreparable the relationship is between Harper and Papelbon—and the Nationals as a whole.

If the situation is really two “brothers” getting into an argument, there’s no reason to expect Papelbon to be sent packing. If it runs deeper, though, Washington would be better off cutting bait—even if it means eating most of his salary. 


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter 

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10 Ways to Fix Washington Nationals’ 2015 Dumpster Fire

Max Scherzer’s expression tells the story of the Washington Nationals‘ 2015 season.

Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse for the Nats—the biggest disappointment in baseball—they did. A lot worse.

Jonathan Papelbon made sure of that on Sunday, when the volatile closer incited a dugout brawl with Bryce Harper by trying to choke out the best player in the bigs.

Now, general manager Mike Rizzo can add discarding Papelbon to an already daunting offseason to-do list. There’s no way around it—Rizzo has a ton of work to do this winter as he looks to put out the dumpster fire and get the club back in playoff contention in 2016.

The exec needs to revamp the bullpen, re-work the infield and decide what to do with an assortment of high-profile free agents. He also needs to show manager Matt Williams the door.

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