Report: Phillies Trying to Trade Papelbon – Phillies Nation

Report: Phillies Trying to Trade Papelbon

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies are actively shopping closer Jonathan Papelbon in belief they can sign a comparable closer cheaper. Rosenthal notes that Papelbon is due $13 million in both 2014 and 2015 and has a $13 million vesting option for 2016. Papelbon has a limited no trade clause and can approve trades to 12 teams.

Analysis: A day late and a dollar short on this one. Closers, by and large, are extremely overpaid and I’m glad the Phillies front office has come to realize this but this is way too late in the game. Signing a Joaquin Benoit, for instance, will likely net you the same result for less money than having Papelbon but the Phillies are likely literally the last team to the party in this realization. Finding a trade partner who both wants Papelbon, his salary, and his diminishing velocity will be tough

I certainly applaud to attempt to do this but you really have to believe if the Phillies have come around to feeling this way (that closers aren’t worth nearly what they are paid) then who would bite on a trade to take on $26 million in guaranteed, and $39 million in potential, salary?



  1. Double Trouble Del

    December 6, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    The Yankees.

    • wbramh

      December 7, 2013 at 12:36 am

      The Yankees have been claiming they’re not in the market for a closer which makes no sense to me but they seem to have faith in giving Robertson a second try or going with Kelley.Both are still pretty cheap contracts. Perhaps they’ll have a different view now that Cano’s salary is the Mariners’ problem.

      They’d probably like to have Papelbon for insurance but like everyone else, at a reduced rate.

  2. Walt Terrell

    December 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    The Papelbon contract certainly wasn’t one of Amaro’s shining moments. Who was he even bidding against? The Red Sox couldn’t wait to see him leave and there wasn’t even enough time for a market to develop.

    • hk

      December 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Not only did he bid against himself, he compounded the mistake by rushing to get the deal done and cost the team a 1st round pick in the process.

  3. Cory K

    December 6, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Anything’s possible. Brian Wilson just got 10 mill for 1 year. But probably won’t happen unless Phils eat significant salary; and then it may make not make much sense. Let’s say you trade him and eat 8 mill. Then you have to go out and sign a closer like Benoit or Balfour who might cost 2 yr/16 mill. Only works if you go cheap like a Fernando Rodney type.

  4. Lefty

    December 6, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    The Tigers just got the closer they desperately needed in Nathan. I’m sure the Phils tried, it’s just a shame something couldn’t have been worked out with them, because it appears Dave Dombrowski was ripe for the taking last week. Can you imagine Papelbon and a couple scrubs for Fister? Oh well. I hope someone will be interested.

    • wbramh

      December 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      I can’t figure out what was in the Tigers’ management’s collective mind when they pretty much gave away Fister. The Fielder trade was smart for both Detroit and Texas and I can understand them wanting to free even more dollars if they have another big trade in the works BUT they would have done better trading Fister for a couple of high-rated minor league kids. Their farm isn’t all that deep.

      But the Tigers have a chance to win now so perhaps we could interest them in (DH) Howard, Papelbon and $40 mil in return for Benoit and minor leaguers Devon Travis and Nick Castellanos???

      Or have I been drinking too much, again?

      • hk

        December 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm

        1. Benoit’s a free agent.
        2. The Tigers just signed Joe Nathan to be their closer.
        3. I think that the Tigers really wanted Robbie Ray.

      • wbramh

        December 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm


        1. I worded that poorly. I meant signing Benoit as a free agent as a secondary move. Even if he was under contract with Detroit they’d never throw him in in that deal.
        2. Yeah, Nathan makes it far less likely that the Tigers would consider Papelbon but the machine-like Nathan is still 39 and the Tigers needed a few bodies for bullpen depth. They can’t afford to lose Nathan to injury or fatigue unless they resign Benoit or pick up a Papelbon. Plus, the Tigers still need a set-up guy if ithey don’t resign Benoit for that duty, Maybe Papelbon’s ego could take it if he had a chance o play for a contender…nah.
        3. Ray was the centerpiece of that trade but like a few of the Phil’s prospects has trouble finding the strike zone. But very young and with plenty of time to improve before he’ll be called on.

  5. VietVET

    December 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    at 33 Papelbon really is a little too young for the RUBE’s team….get rid of Papelbon and sign a 40 year old closer,,,,,,,or maybe 42 or 43!!!!!! maybe entice Rivera out of retirement!!!!

  6. Andrew from Waldorf

    December 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Simply amazing to me that Amaro could have a job at this point.

    If you sent in someone to intentionally destroy the franchise.
    They could nto do as much damage as the idiot has.

    How can he be employed?????????????

    It is like bizaro world to me.

    Anyway until he is gone there is NO HOPE.

    Hate be so point blank and honest about it.

    But that’s the truth.

    See everyone on opening day.

    • Pope Owens

      December 6, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Andrew. I disagree. Ruben has made some mistakes but your venom for him is way over the top.

    • Chuck A.

      December 6, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      Pope Owens – I used to feel the same way as you. I was even called an “Amaro apologist” by a few on this site. But, I have to agree with Andrew here and have come to the conclusion that it is going to be VERY hard for the Phillies to do much of anything as long as Ruben is the GM. He really doesn’t have much of a clue on how to construct and run a major league baseball team.

    • c. schreiber

      December 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      Glad to see you back Andrew!!! Your soooooo correct!! Its beyond me after the Fister miss or not even try that he’s still in that office. Probably one of the worst parts of it he’s in the same division. We’ll face him 4 or 5 starts.

      • Double Trouble Del

        December 6, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        Comments on Braves Nation are also calling for the immediate dismissal of John Schuerholz and Frank Wren for missing out on Fister, signing BJ Upton and Dan Uggla and wasting prospects on Justin Upton.

      • wbramh

        December 6, 2013 at 10:42 pm

        Del, I’ve read similar complaints from Angels fans.
        While neither is currently sharing the same hole with the Phillies, the Braves and Angels have spent a lot of new money only to become under-performing teams. With a few miscalculations and key injuries they could both resemble the Phillies in another two or three years.

    • Ryne Duren

      December 7, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Andrew I agree with you pal. I was always willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The main reason I did was because I thought he had a plan! It’s apparent that he doesn’t he’s shooting from his hip and missing.
      I think the problem is the Phils are worried about the gate take and aren’t willing to admit that they have to rebuild. So that’s why I feel they are signing guys and hoping that they have good years to be competitive.
      What they don’t realize is that if they showed us they were committed to a rebuild and stopped giving out contracts to our beloved veterans with no trade clauses. And traded the guys that are still performing. (not Hamels) They should have let chooch go, not signed Utley, trade Paps. never given Rollins that 3-4 year deal etc. etc. We would be in favor of that and still show up to see the team grow into a respectable contender again. The way they’re doing it is going to way harder to rebuild and have a much longer rebuild process. Ruben has to be replaced. Monty has to grab a box of tissues to wipe the tears, grow a set and get it done. the quicker the better.

  7. bacardipr

    December 6, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Meh while most of the reports are probably just educated guesses i think its too late at this point. Maybe at some point next year if a contender gets desperate enough ( a team with pockets) we can possibly pull something off. Though i suspect the return will be less than optimal and we will have to eat salary.

    • wbramh

      December 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      I’d try to pawn off Papelbon to Seattle.
      Take advantage of them while they’re still drunk!

  8. wbramh

    December 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Trade Papelbon to the Angels for Mark Trumbo, even up, if possible..
    The Angels need to strengthen their pen and Trumbo is expendable.
    They may take the brunt of the hit on Papelbon’s salary since the team is close to contention.

    • Lefty

      December 7, 2013 at 7:21 am

      Personally, I’d rather have Kole Calhoun. IMO- If Trumbo is expendable, he’s the reason why. Besides, how many teams can say they have two C(K)oles? After that, they should go after Chase Headley for the same reason!

      • Ryne Duren

        December 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

        lefty I don’t understand you in saying Headley. We have Asche and Franco in the wings. Franco while not a proven commodity has a way better ceiling than Headley in my eyes. Don’t get me wrong I like Headley but I think he’s not needed now. Asche will most likely be the same type player as him and much younger and cheaper.
        I don’t know much about the other Kole you mentioned so I’ll leave that alone. But unless Headley can play another position I don’t see any reason to pursue him.

      • Lefty

        December 7, 2013 at 11:41 am

        It was just a joke Ryne. Two Cole’s, Two Chase’s-

      • Ryne Duren

        December 8, 2013 at 9:47 am

        Duhhhhhhhhhhhhh! sorry lefty. That went right over my almost hairless head buddy. And I thought I had a sense of humor. Go figure.

  9. Double Trouble Del

    December 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    The Papelbon contract is a fact, maybe even an unpleasant fact for many contributors to Philles Nation. Comments on this site and others, however, reiterate the same tired sentiment- the contract is immovable because the dollar value is too high and Papelbon’s fastball velocity and strikeout rates are down etc.. I say why complain about trying to move his contract? Complain about not trying. Papelbon remarked that he suffered from some hip pain over the summer, perhaps this contributed in some way to his on the field problems. Maybe some team or pitching coach sees something they think they can fix, who knows. For all of the banter about the team standing still, applaud it for trying to make a move.

    • Scotty Ingerton

      December 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      It’s wonderful that Amaro is trying to unload Papelbon, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it was his blatant miscalculation that led to having an overpaid, declining closer with an unmovable contract.

      • Double Trouble Del

        December 6, 2013 at 10:13 pm

        For what purpose do you want to rehash the same issue. Don’t dwell on the past , look for solutions.

    • wbramh

      December 6, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Del, I do give them credit for finally trying. I think we have all felt the frustration of management not seeing where this was headed all along. Even as they appear to finally get it it’s hard not to still be a trifle p’d off and continue to bitch a while longer. As much as we love the Big Piece, who among us didn’t cringe over the size and length of his last contract. Who among us didn’t scratch our heads over the Papelbon deal that didn’t need to happen – or be as punishing if only a moment’s patience was exercised at the time?

      I think the first order of business is to unload the large contracts between this off-season and next even if it means eating half of the remaining dollars due. Management has to start undoing the imbalance between a ridiculously high payroll and equally ridiculously low on-field performance for the money. Papelbon still has tread life. Last season was off for him but not all that bad. He still ended up in the middle of the pack and that’s got to have value to a contender or a team that only needs a few pieces. Howard will be tougher to move this year (because of money and health questions) without taking too much of a hit, but if he rebounds he’ll be movable next year and hopefully with another team at least sharing his remaining salary at that point (maybe in return for a few minor league hopefuls. At least he’ll be due $25 million less by then which is that much more manageable.

      But I’m already looking beyond the next two years since they’re more likely to be worse team during that period than a better one. The question is, how do they become competitive by 2016? The triple hole they dug for themselves between payroll, aging low trade- value talent and a depleted farm is just too much to overcome in a year or two. The booby prize may be the ability to pick higher in the draft but that will take a better front office and better scouting than the team has showed us to date. So the route to a successful turnaround seems to be something like this:

      A or B. Dump the overpaid players in return for any semi-reasonable offers.
      B or A. Shake up the front office.
      C. Put together a first rate sabermetrics department (department – not just one person).
      D. Shake up the scouting department and put more emphasis on a World view.
      E. Trade any remaining aging players a year too soon (instead of a year too late).
      F. Pass on any player whose first name is Chad or Michael – or last name is Young.
      G or A. Pay us commenters here at PN $100,000 apiece to proffer these really good ideas.

      • hk

        December 7, 2013 at 3:47 am

        Addendum to F….unless his last name is Trout.

      • wbramh

        December 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

        HK – Re: Players named Michael.
        I was referring strictly to mortals.

      • Ryne Duren

        December 7, 2013 at 11:47 am

        Hey W that was good. I don’t agree with everything but most I do. I also agree with your A to addendum F. With the one exception to G I’ll take only 50K cause I didn’t agree 100% with you. Since it was your idea I’ll give you my 50K that I’m willing to give up! lol

  10. Mea Culpa x 3

    December 6, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    “I definitely did not come here for this”

    • wbramh

      December 7, 2013 at 12:42 am

      An endearing sorta fellow, that Papelbon.

  11. bacardipr

    December 7, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Seems most of the frustration is targeted at Papelbon. It was Rube who made the deal.

    • Double Trouble Del

      December 7, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Was the money or years involved crazy? Maybe, maybe not. In 2011 Rivera made 15 million, F. Rodriguez made over 12 million, Papelbon himself made 12 million, J. Nathan over 11 million and Madsen was offed a contract valued at 11 million per annum. So, while you can fault him for not being a trend-setter. The contract was not completely out of line.

      • hk

        December 7, 2013 at 8:41 am

        The money wasn’t crazy, but the years were (as was mentioned here and on other blogs at the time). 2 years at $12.5M per year with a 3rd year team option would have been fine. 4 years at that AAV with a 5th vesting option was crazy. It took Ruben 2 years to learn what many of the bloggers and fans already knew. Throw in the lost 1st round pick and this contract is 2nd to the Howard extension on Rube’s long list of bad moves.

    • Chuck A.

      December 7, 2013 at 8:20 am

      Yeah, some of the frustration is targeted at Papelbon because he’s a d!ck. I can understand his frustration…we’re ALL frustrated, Jonathan…..but he hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the fanbase.

      Howard, on the other hand, HAS been popular with the fans (he’s a good guy) but the contract sucks bigtime and that falls squarely on Ruben.

  12. Psujoe

    December 7, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Phil’s are stuck with too many expensive salaries the next two years which is why I’m ok with older players on 1 or 2 year contracts. If the team sucks near the deadline a Cliff Lee will be movable to start the rebuild. Maybe even Paps is he looks good.

    • hk

      December 7, 2013 at 11:02 am

      I agree. It seems as though ownership has adopted a philosophy that’s built around trying to win with a veteran team in the next few years while preventing RAJ from do anything that will negatively impact 2017 and beyond.

  13. Jay

    December 7, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Please Ruben don’t go trading away some of our young guys to get a bad contract on the books I beg of you. Trade Papelbon for pennies on the dollar. Send him to the Dodgers, Seattle, Giants, Reds, Rangers. Bring back some decent minor leaguers. IF you can confuse the Dodgers into trade Matt Kemp. TAKE IT. Put him out in RF. We have the money. I don’t want to hear anything about the luxury tax. You weren’t thinking about that when you signed Lee, Halladay, Papelbon, and all the other long term deals you have given out. Trade Kyle Kendrick. We can find another decent starter out in the free agency market or in our minor leagues. No team is willing to trade away its young guys for our old guys. Lets gamble a little.

    A lineup of Revere, Rollins, Utley, Kemp, Brown, Howard, Ruiz, Asche,
    Our Starters could be Hamels, Lee, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Pettibone, Biddle
    Bench with Galvis, Ruf, Fradsen, Byrd, Nieves or Rupp

    Thats not a bad team to me. I dont want to hear we are thinking of creative ways. For 257 Games fans sold out the ballpark. Ever since we moved to Citizens Bank the ownership has been lining its mattresses with money. Why do the Yankees have 27 World Series Rings, why have the Red Sox won 3 rings in a decade.

  14. Bart Shart

    December 7, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I like the idea of a straight trade of Papelbon for Trumbo. But I doubt if the Angels would bite on that one. I agree that Amaro simply is not general manager material.

    • Jay

      December 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      Trumbo to me isnt worth it. Slow and he strikes out a lot. What this team needs is a professional hitter. Someone that will work the count, take a walk, and force other guys on this team to hit with their eyes open.

      • wbramh

        December 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm

        I reasonable argument against my choice of Trumbo but then he had 100 RBIs and 34 HRs last season which would have led the Phillies in both categories.

        But I think the player you’re describing is Choo.
        Considering the fact that we need professional hitters from both sides of the plate perhaps he’d be a perfect pickup – and someone who can lead off when needed.

  15. Jay

    December 7, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Would love to see the Phillies dump him and bring in Andrew Friedman from the Rays. Or just someone that is willing to hire and listen to an analytics guy rather then just offer someone an “internship”

    Trading Cliff could get us players to fill holes. Arizona is looking for an ACE. Maybe get back Archie Bradley, Tyler Skaggs, or AJ Pollack. The Rangers seem to always need more pitching. We have to remember that Lee is looking to retire after 2016.

    If RAJ can trade Papelbon. I hope he just brings in arms. Not one guy. Madsen, Axford, Mitchell Boggs, Chris Perez or Fernando Rodney. Sign 2 of them.

  16. Jay

    December 7, 2013 at 11:45 am

    The one thing that Ruben has proven time and time again is that he is stubborn. The free agent signings that happen to early. Papelbon, Byrd, Ibanez. He struggles to make a trade. Last season how were you unable to deal Ruiz and Michael Young at the deadline.

    • schmenkman

      December 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      He did trade Young a month later, and he wanted to keep Ruiz for 2014.

  17. Jay

    December 7, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Texas some how got better quick. Trading for Prince Fielder and getting Michael Choice for Lindblom (former Phillie) and a 4th outfielder. If thats all it took to get Choice why didnt the Phillies offer Mike Adams and Mayberry and keys to Ruben’s 1992 Porsche.

    Choice bats Right handed and can play RF.

  18. Nina Hartly

    December 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Trade Pap and Dingle…uh… Mayberry for Granderson.

    • wbramh

      December 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      As of yesterday Mr. Granderson officially became a New York Mutt.
      Not a bad pickup. $60 mil/3 yrs for a guy who still has speed and produced just 1 less RBI in 2012 (his last full season) as opposed to Cano at $240 mil/10 yrs. I’d call that a good value pickup for New York.

      But maybe Rube is saving his money for Tanaka.
      And maybe I’m the Queen of Spain.

      • schmenkman

        December 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm

        Well, Cano is pretty clearly a better hitter than Granderson.

      • wbramh

        December 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

        Or was it 4 years for Grandy?
        Still a relative bargain. since a team could pick up four Grandersons for the price of one Cano and not have to worry about the players drooling in their oatmeal in retirement homes during the last six years of their contracts.

        Correct me if I’m wrong but the Yankees could end up spending $450 million in FA this winter between one more major FA target and Tanaka… and then watch Oakland win the World Series against Pittsburgh.


      • wbramh

        December 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm


        Without question I’d take Cano over Granderson – maybe even over 1.5 to 2.5 Grandersons (assuming a half of a Granderson can still run and hit)!
        But over four Grandersons with a full complement of arms and legs??

        If Seattle is trying to turn into the King and His Court, fine but $240 mil invested in one player (albeit a great player) sounds a smidgeon extreme, especially for a relatively small market.

      • schmenkman

        December 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm

        No argument about Granderson being a relative bargain. Only about using RBI as a meaningful point of comparison.

      • wbramh

        December 7, 2013 at 11:12 pm

        Comparing Granderson’s last full year (2012) vs Cano’s 2013, here’s how the line reads:

        Cano: . .383/ .516/ .899
        Granderson: .319/ .492/ .811

        Cano’s numbers are great but even by metrics other than RBIs not 4x greater.
        I’d sooner sign two or three Grandersons because the net upgrade for most non-contenders would be much more dramatic than signing one Cano. And you’d still have enough money left over to make a lot of other moves.

        Here’s an interesting take on the Cano deal from Jerry Green in the Detroit News.
        I don’t totally agree with his metrics, either but he makes some reasonable points:

      • schmenkman

        December 8, 2013 at 3:26 am

        I agree with everything you said, and disagree with almost everything in the Green article. Cano is no Utley, but he’s a heck of a lot closer to Pujols than to Infante.

      • wbramh

        December 8, 2013 at 4:20 am

        I thought Green’s comparison to Infante bordered on the insane. Also, there are too many outside factors in a team sport to assume Cano is a lesser player for not winning an MVP. ie: It drives me crazy when I hear people say Ernie Banks was good but not great because he never won a pennant. Just 14x an all star, two MVPs, 2x HR leader, gold glove, etc etc. But where I believe Green makes a point is that there’s been a pattern with these giant individual contracts that ends up biting a team in the tush more often than not. The Yankees finally learned from the Rodriguez contract that there’s a financial ceiling for the best of them. I’d bet the Angels have figured that out, too. The Cards and Tigers saw disaster coming and divested ahead of the problem. The Yankees are buying a quality team for themselves with the money they would have spent on Cano alone. And if one guy falters or gets hurt, the other acquisitions will likely more than make up for the disappointment. Conversely, If Cano breaks a bone in his foot in April…

      • hk

        December 8, 2013 at 7:04 am

        “Still a relative bargain. since a team could pick up four Grandersons for the price of one Cano and not have to worry about the players drooling in their oatmeal in retirement homes during the last six years of their contracts.”


        I began looking at the Cano deal in comparison to Ellsbury’s after reading most Yankees fans claiming that Ellsbury’s deal > Cano’s, a sour grapes claim with which I completely disagree. Comparing the Cano deal to the Granderson deal is not the same as comparing it to Ellsbury’s, but some of the same factors apply. The biggest factor to me is that all of these deals need to be assessed on the basis of their AAV’s, not the total amount of the contract. Yes, Cano is getting 4x as much as Granderson. He’s also 2 years younger and signed for 2.5x as many years. On an AAV basis, Cano is getting 1.6x as much as Granderson.

        (1) Granderson’s deal starts with his age 33 season while Cano’s starts in his age 31 season. If Cano is going to be “drooling in his oatmeal” for 6 seasons starting with his age 35 season, Granderson will be “drooling in his oatmeal” during the last 2 of his 4 seasons.

        (2) I would be stunned if Cano is “drooling in his oatmeal” (i.e. worthless) in seasons 5 through 7 (his age 35-37 seasons) of the deal. Chase Utley just finished a 3.9 WAR season at age 34 and is projected for a 3.5 WAR season in 2014. At comparable ages, Utley has been better than Cano, but players like them typically don’t fall off the map at age 35, they typically decline. During those 3 years, using 5% salary inflation on his AAV, Seattle will be paying today’s equivalent of ~$18.9M.

        (3) During the last 3 years, when Cano is probably playing 1B and DH, he’ll be significantly overpaid for his production. That’s the price that Seattle is willing to pay to get projected excess value out Cano in the first four years and approximately fair value out of Cano for years 5 through 7.

        (4) Cano projects to be worth ~2.5 WAR more than Granderson in each of the 4 years that their deals are concurrent. During that time, Cano will earn an AAV of $9M more than Granderson. If Seattle has the money to spend and is looking to make a big splash, there is a good argument to be made that the Cano deal was the better one for them.

      • wbramh

        December 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

        HK – All of your points are well-considered on a straight Cano v Granderson deal comparison. And of course, no one can predict how comparatively healthy and high-functioning either man will be at age 39. Granderson has had injuries while the younger Cano has been relatively healthy even for his age; another point in favor of your math.

        Where I think the Cano deal falls apart is when you consider that the performance of any star can be lost on the lineup built around him. A sky-high OBP is great but other Canos, or Grandersons, have to drive him across the plate – or be on base when one of them buries it in the stands.That’s why I alluded (somewhere) to The King and His Court. A baseball team needs more than a couple of aces, a second basemen and one fielder.

        Seattle does have a new broadcast contract so they may still go full Yankee on the league before FA and the winter meetings are over but that doesn’t appear to be a realistic route for a franchise in a secondary city. Do they have the resources and commitment to make those additional and necessary upgrades? Only then will we know whether this deal made some sense. Odds suggest both the Mariners and the high-spending Bombers will be paying for reduced performance on the back end of both contracts but the Yankees are a bottomless money pit.
        The Mariners need a lot more talent and still deeper wallet before Cano is playing for a champion caliber team. Can they do it? The novelty of their acquisition could wear off, soon.

      • schmenkman

        December 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm

        Steamer projected Seattle around 76 wins before the trade, so it might be around 80-81 now, and I think they have some good prospects. I don’t think it’s out of the question that they could contend in 2015-16, and with some luck even 2014.

      • schmenkman

        December 9, 2013 at 8:17 am

        BTW, this is a fascinating look behind the scenes in Seattle (and an indictment of Jack Z):

    • c. schreiber

      December 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Uh,Nina did you check MLB last night or this AM??? He’s a mutt.

  19. wbramh

    December 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    The problem built into this undertaking to dump Papelbon’s salary can be found right in Ian’s first sentence:

    “…the Phillies are actively shopping closer Jonathan Papelbon in belief they can sign a comparable closer cheaper.”

    Yeah, well if the Phillies can find comparable talent for less money so can a lot of other current shoppers. The team has to land the top FA closer remaining on the board NOW in order to replace Papelbon with “comparable” talent and simultaneously remove that player from some closer-desperate team’s grasp. If they wait, the Phillies will have the dregs of FA to pick from. If they sign a guy who can play the role of setup or closer (since Adams is probably toast) then the possibility of getting “stuck” with Papelbon for another year is not as big a deal. Any teams interested in Papelbon will see the new guy as a two-way reliever (setup or closer) and not see it as an opportunity to further fleece Ruben.

    • George

      December 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      I believe that if Amaro really can trade Papelbon, he isn’t going to sign an comparable closer, he’ll opt for a reclamation project, perhaps someone like Madsont. Right now, with a team that doesn’t have huge postseason prospects, there’s no reason to use up funds on an elite closer which could be spent later when the team is once again poised for a postseason run. It’s what he might get in return for Papelbon which makes the effort worthwhile.

      I also think that some of the criticism of Amaro is a bit much. Two years ago, the team was still in the thick of things and players were added to keep the team in that position, even though it meant robbing the farm to trade for those players or signing free agents to bloated contracts. Obviously, ownership must have felt this was the way to go, and a GM has to keep them happy in order to keep his job. Amaro is a reflection of policies from above, he’s not functioning in a vacuum. Now that the Phils have slipped, due in part to forces beyond any GM’s control, like injuries and underperformance, Amaro is not going to sign major talent, but will hope to get at least something out of the veterans while plugging as many holes as he can without ruining ownership’s bottom line. He’s obviously made a number of errors, like the premature Howard extension and the trade to get Pence, but some of what’s gone on should be laid at ownership’s feet, too, due to their insistence on a “win now while the window is open” philosophy.

      • wbramh

        December 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm

        George, you’re probably right about the reduced importance of a closer this year, especially on a 65 team which (IMO) we currently have.

        As for who’s at fault upstairs, well that’s a good question. It’s possible Ruben is getting tagged for a few decisions that were beyond his control – like keeping certain stars too long for the sake of TV revenue. And those injuries you mentioned not only affected their record but also made it harder to to trade players (old stars or otherwise) with health question marks hanging over their heads. In terms of good health old man Rollins is one of the few players who has earned his keep (thanks to his still stellar defense) despite his enormous drop in offense. He just needs to bat 7th or 8th in the lineup. Bring in Choo as the lead-off man and live with the heavily left-handed batting order. That won’t mean anything either, this year.

  20. wbramh

    December 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Okay. It’s settled .
    Papelbon to the Yankees!
    Why not, they’re buying everybody else?
    Sell his contract to the Yanks before they realize they don’t need him.
    They’re like meth addicts in the front row of an auction.

    (So far) $300 billion in FA signings and claim they’re “not done” …
    and they’re still expected to land Tanaka!!!!!

    That’s okay. We have Marlon Byrd. Eat your hearts out, Bombers!

  21. Justin McElroy

    December 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    From Ryan Lawrence:

    “Papelbon’s $13 million-per-year price tag is more than the combined salaries of the closers for the last FOUR World Series winners ($12.76 million).”

    “The Phillies paid Papelbon more money in 2013 (also $13 million) than the National League’s top two teams, the Dodgers and Cardinals, spent, COMBINED, on the four pitches who made the most appearances with their respected teams ($10.9 million).”

    So much for Amaro’s ability to read the marketplace…

    • schmenkman

      December 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      That’s pretty distorted by Mr. Lawrence.

      The Phillies did overpay, but top closers have been routinely overpaid, and Papelbon was the best closer available at the time he was signed.

    • Double Trouble Del

      December 7, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      Did Mr. Lawrence note that the Cardinals and Dodgers both sought closers all of the way up to the August 31st trade deadline. Also the last four teams to win the World Series found their closers by default, not by design.

      • hk

        December 9, 2013 at 6:48 am


        Isn’t that sort of Mr. Lawrence’s point? Many teams have realized that closers are made, not born, and that you don’t have to overpay (particularly in years) to acquire one. Therefore, it will be very hard for the Phils to trade Papelbon when he’s most likely due $39M over 3 years unless they are willing to pay a large part of his contract or to take back a comparably bad contract.

      • Double Trouble Del

        December 9, 2013 at 8:27 am

        My point is that if you want a degree of certainty in your bullpen then you have to pay for a Rivera and Papelbon. Nothing is more deflating for a team than to take a game to the ninth inning and have a pitcher blow the lead. I am also suggesting that there was a certain degree of luck involved for those teams as well and that in all liklihood the Giants, Cardinals Yankees etc. will look to find certainty before heading into this season. Not that I am suggesting that Papelbon will provide that level of certainty.

      • hk

        December 9, 2013 at 9:52 am

        But that’s the fallacy in the thinking behind the signing and something that this front office missed while almost all of the other teams had caught onto. It’s hard enough – Mariano Rivera aside – to get certainty in 2 consecutive years from a closer, much less paying like you expect to get 5 years of certainty. They may or many not have overpaid Papelbon in average annual value, but even if they did, that issue pales in comparison to the fact that they signed him for 4 years plus a vesting option when all other closer signings were for 2 years (except Heath Bell, who got 3). Of course, the icing on the cake is that they would have kept their 2012 1st round pick if they had only waited another week to sign him.

  22. photoFred

    December 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Can someone point me toward some statistical research that shows the correlation between age and days on the DL? Must be a study somewhere.

  23. wbramh

    December 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    All true but Papelbon didn’t come here for the money.
    He wanted the opportunity to mingle with Philadelphia fans and win our hearts like Konstanty, McGraw and Lidge before him.

    And he did win my heart for I found myself liking every other player on the team, good or bad, that much more than Pap.

  24. bacardipr

    December 8, 2013 at 4:03 am

    Papelbon been a dik was a well known fact. I think even Rube had to know this. Howard is good guy on the field and on TV. Who knows how he really is in real life.

  25. Manny

    December 8, 2013 at 9:04 am

  26. wbramh

    December 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    But speaking of Nelson Cruz…
    Would he be the Christmas reindeer we’ve all been waiting for?

    (IMO, a weak impersonation with the hands)

    So should Cruz take over CF with Byrd in LF and Brown in RF?
    Well there are your two RH OF power hitters with Revere platooning or coming off the bench.
    Okey-dokey, but now platoon Howard and Ruf at 1B, Asche and Franco at 3B and RAJ and Mozeliak at GM.

    Obviously I was kidding about that Asche and Franco part.

    I’d be happy to land Cruz, Tanaka and Benoit (the latter as a setup man) and call it a day.

    • schmenkman

      December 8, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      If that were to come to pass, Byrd is a much better fielder than Cruz (whose defensive ratings are almost Delmon-esque in RF).

      While Cruz could be an ok addition, depending on the contract, I’m a little worried by his .730 OPS away from the friendly confines of Arlington, and how that would play in an essentially neutral park like CBP.

      • wbramh

        December 8, 2013 at 11:43 pm

        Then Cruz would become an odd pickup if Ruben is truly concerned about the quality of their fielding out there. But say they sign Cruz. if neither Byrd nor Cruz can cover CF and Brown is has to fit in one of the corner spots it would seem that Byrd ends up on the bench if only because of the higher dollar investment in Cruz.

        Orrrrr! They sign Choo instead of Cruz and move Brown for a starting pitcher.
        That would give them better fielding, a potential leadoff with power and a superior OBP – and a swap of left-handed bats.

    • psujoe

      December 8, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      I’d like the Cruz deal at 3/$45. Keep all signings at the 2 -3 year range and save the prospects unless you get a long term piece in return. It’s actually a pretty good strategy. Just wish they didn’t waste the tender on JMJ. Any way they can get out of that?

    • Manny

      December 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      If these rumors are true, RAJ is once again missing the point. Another outfielder would be good, but our top priority right now should be a SOLID STARTING PITCHER. Revere, Brown, and Byrd can provide above-replacement level performance already. However, we have 2 pitchers in our rotation (KK and Pettibone) who are barely over replacement level… plus one big question mark. Even if Hamels and Lee are solid once again, that will not be enough… If you look at our current roster THE most obvious place to improve is in the starting pitching department. We need another ace (or near-ace) who can be a substantial upgrade over one of KK and Pettibone. “Upgrading” from Byrd/Revere to Cruz would barely make a dent.

      • Manny

        December 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm

        That is, of course, if you think we can actually compete in 2014…

      • psujoe

        December 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm

        MLBTR said RAJ offered Feldman and Vogalslog(sp). So he’s trying. Is Burnett still available? Not much left.

      • Double Trouble Del

        December 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm

        Unfortunately for the Phils, the posting fee dilemma has put a monkey wrench in any plans to bid for Tanaka. I don’t see an overpay for Jiminez or Garza nor would I want one. Perhaps they sign Cruz and put a package together for a starter not named Price centered around Dom Brown.

      • wbramh

        December 9, 2013 at 12:22 am

        Del, Rumor has it that the FA market for pitchers has run into a stall because of the delay on Tanaka and the growing possibility of trades at the meetings. That could also drive down the price of Garza and gang.

        I don’t see how the Golden Eagles pass on accepting some posting fee less than $50 mil on Tanaka since they’ll come up with zippo if they wait for two years (and have an unhappy player). Still, I think their owner (a Harvard biz school grad) is being very shrewd. He probably wants the posting fee jacked back up to at least $30 mil since MLB teams will pay it. For $20 mil I think he’ll continue to hold out, fully expecting his fellow owners and MLB to blink first – unless equivalent compensation is worked out elsewhere (or under the table). There seems to be two financial forces at work here. While Tanaka is easily worth a higher posting fee Japanese teams don’t want to price other players out of the market. It would seem easy enough to set up two-tier pricing in which one player per team can be protected as a “franchise player” worth a $20 mil posting fee plus a $10 mil bonus before an MLB team can negotiate for the player’s services. But I’m sure they’re well beyond me in search of solutions.

      • schmenkman

        December 9, 2013 at 7:37 am

        With a posting fee of only $20 M, the Eagles may be able to wait a year, get another season’s use from Tanaka, and then let him go with one year left on his contract.

      • Double Trouble Del

        December 9, 2013 at 8:33 am

        Schmenkman, I agree. I have reservations about Garza and Jiminez, both. I think some sort of trade is the best option at this point.

    • Alex M.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:29 am

      There is only one reason that would make sense for why the Phillies are looking to sign Cruz and that is because Dom Brown is on his way out. Otherwise Cruz makes ZERO sense he is a liability in right and while Byrd is actually pretty good in right, moving him to center would likely end badly. This would be the only logical reason to bring in Cruz.

      It would make more sense to improve in center with a player like Franklin Guiterrez that platoons with Revere. Cruz just does not make sense after signing Byrd unless you are planning on trading Brown.

      • Walt Terrell

        December 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm

        Over his career, Ben Revere has better numbers vs LHPs so how would that platoon work? The big problem with Revere (besides his arm and questionable defense) is that he’s almost exclusively a singles hitter. I guess he’s a fit in some team’s lineup, but he doesn’t seem to fit here.

      • wbramh

        December 9, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        As Schmenk quickly and accurately pointed out in response to my mention of the Cruz rumor, Cruz is not the fielding upgrade Ruben has talked about nor is he likely to produce as well in a “neutral” park like CBP.

        While management may still be contemplating signing the 33-year-old Cruz (despite their own public objections), here’s an argument for signing 31-year-old Choo instead of Cruz (besides the age difference)…

        Choo’s OBP was the 4th highest in MLB last year (behind Cabrera, Votto and Trout.
        The Phils would finally get a bona fide lead-off hitter (with power) who gets on base; plus Choo’s a good fielder.

        Yes, Choo is another lefty, but I’d couple the signing with a trade – Brown for a good starting pitcher – or better still, Revere wrapped in a package for same. Among the Phil’s 2013 starters, only Brown,Revere and Asche have any trade value (the latter is tradable if Franco is given a real shot at 3rd). While improving the outfield with Choo, additional critical positions could be filled by trading some combination (or all) of the starters mentioned above.

        Here are the lines:

        Revere: 338/ .352/ .691 – WAR .8 (2013) 2.6 (2012-last full year)
        Brown: .324/ 494/ .818 – WAR 2.5
        Cruz: .327/.506/ .833 – WAR 2.0
        Choo: 423/ .462/ .885 – WAR 4.2

  27. Bob D

    December 9, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Tanaka would be interesting signing with upside. Plus wont cost the 2nd round pick despite the costly salary.

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