Jonathan Papelbon: How He Nailed the Coffin Shut for 2012 Phils

Phil PompeiContributor IIISeptember 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 01:  Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. Philadelphia won the game 3-2. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Nothing has gone right for the Phillies in 2012.

Besides the seasons from Carlos Ruiz and Cole Hamels, there really isn't anything great that you can say about the 2012 Phillies. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard missed entirely too much time, and the team was a shell by the time they came back. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and Antonio Bastardo all vastly underperformed this season. Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence didn't even survive the trade deadline.

Having said all this, there is one player on the roster who may bear the most responsibility for the Phillies' irrelevance this season. His name? Jonathan Papelbon.

Cinco Ocho himself.

Yes, the richest reliever in baseball history made the difference this season.

After signing a  four-year, $50 million contract this past winter, Papelbon is 3-6 with a 3.02 ERA in his first season as a Phillie. He is also 30-for-34 in save opportunities, with three of those blown saves resulting in Phillies losses.

Had he converted those three opportunities, as he certainly gets paid handsomely to do, the Phillies would be sitting at 68-67 and five games out of the wild card.

But let's take it a step further.

On four other occasions, Pap was brought into a tie game and allowed the other team to score, resulting in Phillies losses. Had he held onto the tie and the Phillies had come back to win half those games, the Phillies would be 70-65 and only three games out of the wild card.

Another 102-win season was not in the cards. Again, the Phillies had problems this year, were decimated by injuries and had a run of bad luck. It hurts, but it's acceptable.

But a $50 million relief pitcher being the reason you're out of the hunt? That is unacceptable.