Phillies shopping Papelbon

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Friday, December 6th, 2013

The Philadelphia Phillies have been relatively quiet so far this off season, they’ve only made minor moves but that could be changing soon. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported today that the team is shopping their closer, Jonathan Papelbon. It’s not much of a surprise to me that they’re shopping him what will surprise me is if they find a taker.

Papelbon currently has two years left on his deal which could be three if his option for 2016 vests. The problem the Phillies have is that he’ll make $13 million in 2014 & 2015 and a deteriorating skill set. His fastball and strikeout rate have dropped over the past two seasons, which is not good for a closer. In fact his 2013 strikeout rate of 8.3 per 9 innings was the worst of his career.

pap2

I know a lot of teams need closers but what team would be willing to pay that salary and give up prospects for him? I don’t think many. Another question is will a trade of Papelbon make the Phillies better or worse? They currently have 33/1 odds at winning the World Series in 2014 at the home of betting but I’m not sure which direction they’d go if a deal was made.

Things could go one of two ways for the Phillies. They take the money they save on Papelbon and use it to get talent. That’s what I think is unlikely.

What’s more likely is that the Phillies are stuck giving a team a good amount of money to take Papelbon off their hands. That would definitely chop into the money they save, since they’d now not be saving much. Also, Ruben Amaro Jr would likely misspend the money like he’s done over the years.

So do I think Papelbon will be traded?

I do think there is a chance as a lot of teams are still looking for closers. What it will depend on is how much money the Phillies would be willing to send with him as he’s not worth anywhere near what he’s being paid. He’s no longer an elite closer and truthfully could wind up as just a setup man for a contender.

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