5 Reasons Why the Philadelphia Phillies Should Trade Jonathan Papelbon
5 Reasons for Phillies to Trade Jonathan Papelbon
Before the start of the 2012 season the Philadelphia Phillies were all-in. They had the big three rotation of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. They also had their double play combination of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley with Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence in the outfield. The icing on the cake was the free agent signing of elite closer Jonathan Papelbon. Paps was a four time All-Star with the Boston Red Sox with a career 2.33 ERA and 219 career saves.
But here we are before the start of the 2014 season and the Phillies have way more questions than answers. They have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons and continue to miss on sure-thing free agents they try to bring in every year.
Papelbon hasn’t been bad in his two seasons in Philadelphia, but he hasn’t been lights out either. He has 67 saves and a 2.67 ERA in Philly, but last year was the first year in his career he was unable to notch 30 saves as a full-time closer.
Not everything was Papelbon’s fault. He didn’t get a ton of opportunities to close out ball games because the Phillies were so bad, but he did blow seven saves on the season. You expect more out of someone that they are paying that much money to.
Now we sit here before the 2014 and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is again forced to try to retool and build around the big contracts he is stuck with, including Papelbon’s. If there is any way that Amaro can get a taker for Paps he should trade him, and here are five reasons why.
5. Time to Develop the Farm
The Phillies are a team that needs to rebuild, and they could potentially already have their future closer in the farm system. It is time to find out if Phillipe Aumont will ever develop into the talent everyone expects him to be. It’s also possible that Ethan Martin could be the future closer as the Phillies learned his stuff is more suited out of the bullpen than as a starter. Either way Amaro needs to try and get Papelbon out of town.
4. No Need for High Priced Closer
If you take a look at the five highest paid closers in baseball none of their teams made the playoffs. In contrast if you look at the two teams that made the World Series they featured closers that did not have the job at the beginning of the season and didn’t have experience closing ball games in Koji Uehara and Trevor Rosenthal. It goes to show you that you can very easily win without paying the big bucks for a closer.
3. He is Rapidly Declining
The ERA was still good for Paps this year, but if you take a look at the numbers more closely he is clearly a pitcher on the decline. His velocity was down, people were not biting at his splitter anymore and this was the first year in his career where he had fewer strikeouts than innings pitched. These are alarming numbers the Phillies should be made aware of.
2. No Bridge to Closer
The Phillies paid Mike Adams a ton of money to be the setup man to get to Papelbon, but he was never able to stay healthy. Antonio Bastardo had some success but then got suspended for PEDs. If your middle relief is garbage having an elite closer is not a necessity if you can’t protect the lead until the ninth inning.
1. Awful Contract
Papelbon still has two years, $26 million left on his contract plus a vesting option for 2016 for another $13 million that will more than likely vest if he stays with the team. That’s too much money for someone who appears in less than half of the games and blows almost 20 percent of his save opportunities.