The main obstacle, which has been the case for almost every potential Papelbon deal, is his salary. The Nationals are hopeful that the Phillies would be willing to eat the majority of the $13 million he’ll make this season.
According to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury, Papelbon will not sign off on a deal unless he’s in a position to earn his vesting option ($13 million in 2016), which vests if the 34-year-old completes 14 more games.
Re: Wash reported interest in Pap (@Ken_Rosenthal). Talked to him about that today. Phils have not approached him. Won’t go unless he closes
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) July 25, 2015
The Nationals already have an excellent closer in Drew Storen, who has recorded 29 saves in 31 opportunities and a 1.73 ERA. If Papelbon were to go there, he would likely not be the closer. There is a chance, however, that the Phillies include the vesting option as a guaranteed condition of the deal, which the club would have to pay the majority of. Papelbon converted his 17th save of the season yesterday, and lowered his ERA to a minuscule 1.59 in the process.
Chase Utley trade still on the table:
Stark on Utley: “This is evolving. I think he gets traded in August. They have 3 teams interested in trading for him.”
— 97.3 ESPN FM (@973espn) July 24, 2015
The Angels believe they can get Utley as a cheap rental bat, especially since he is unlikely going to reach the 500 plate appearances needed for his $15 million option to vest. He has only 249 plate appearances this season.
Utley, who has been on the DL since late June with an ankle injury, is nearing a rehab assignment in the Phillies’ minor league system. Because of the injury, any deal would have to take place after the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
Due to his no-trade clause, any potential deal would need Utley’s approval. The chance to play for a playoff contender, and Ruben Amaro Jr.’s comments regarding him and Cesar Hernandez, could push the veteran to seriously consider a change of scenery.