Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 6
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported on Jonathan Papelbon's status after clearing waivers:
#Phillies’ Byrd also claimed on revocable trade waivers by an unidentified club. Papelbon cleared waivers; has limited no-trade protection.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 6, 2014
Papelbon recently told reporters that his limited no-trade clause would not be an obstacle if the #Phillies could find a trade partner.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 6, 2014
The closer is currently boasting a 1.17 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 23 saves while allowing just 23 hits and five earned runs in 38.1 innings pitched.
His performance this season appears to have caught the eye of reliever-needy contenders.
According to Mark Saxon of ESPN, the 54-45 Los Angeles Dodgers were looking to acquire the pitcher's services:
Spoke to a baseball source today who said he expects the #Dodgers to pursue Jonathan Papelbon— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) July 16, 2014
However, that rumor was superseded by another, as Saxon tweeted this one day later:
I have subsequently been told the #Dodgers are not interested in Papelbon— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) July 17, 2014
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com also reported financial details surrounding a potential trade involving Papelbon:
The Tigers, Giants and Orioles could still be in the market for a closer. Papelbon is owed the remainder of $13 million for this season, another $13 million next season and has a reachable option for another $13 million in 2016, so he is not cheap. Amaro is on record as saying he would eat some salary to move certain players. Papelbon is likely one of them. The team, sources say, was willing to eat up to half of Papelbon’s salary in the offseason. Papelbon is having an excellent season so it’s unclear whether the Phillies would still be willing to eat that much.
Although speculation has focused on San Diego Padres closer Huston Street, the Angels also are interested in two other Padres pitchers: setup man Joaquin Benoit and starter Ian Kennedy. The Angels are less interested in Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon and Texas Rangers closer Joakim Soria.
Well, that speculation appears to be ancient history as well, due to the team's recent acquisition of Huston Street.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe also weighed in on the possibility of Papelbon joining the Dodgers:
The Dodgers already have some interesting personalities in their clubhouse, so adding one more probably isn’t a big deal. Papelbon has worn out his welcome in Philly, but he’s had a very good year. So the Dodgers, in need of a late-inning reliever, could partake.
At first glance, you'd think Philadelphia's phones would be blowing up for calls regarding Papelbon with Street now off the market. As it turns out, that's not the case.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the next coveted closer is Texas Rangers right-hander Joakim Soria:
With Street off the market, #Rangers getting numerous inquiries today on Soria. Has same control for ’15 as Street: $7M club option.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 19, 2014
So, why are teams balking at the idea of acquiring Papelbon's services? Well, his contract may have something to do with it.
According to Spotrac.com, Papelbon is making a base salary of $13 million this year—and also for the next two years. With pitchers like Soria making roughly $7 million, it may be difficult for teams to warrant spending that extra money.
This situation could prove to be frustrating for Papelbon, as he's made it clear a trade to a contending team would be welcomed.
After all, the Phillies continue to struggle this season and are currently floundering in the cellar of the NL East with a 43-54 record, and the pitcher expressed his desire to possibly leave Philadelphia during an interview with Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:
Some guys want to stay on a losing team? That's mind-boggling to me. I think that's a no-brainer.
You know, I came here for a reason, and I say that because I'm with a group of guys in the bullpen that can do very special things in the future. I've been waiting for that, you know what I mean? It's fun to be a part of that, it really is. We are there finally with our bullpen. So that aspect of it would kind of suck to leave. But at the same time, winning is the cure-all of cure-alls.
With July 31 fast approaching, Papelbon will soon learn of his fate. But for now, he'll have to wait and see if a contending team is still scrambling to find a reliever in the final hours before the trade deadline.