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MLB trade rumors: Jonathan Papelbon willing to move to a contender

Jonathan Papelbon is a former All-Star and World Series champion closer. But does he make sense for the Tigers?

Eliot J. Schechter

The once powerful Philadelphia Phillies currently sit in last place in the National League East. At 11 games under .500 and no end in sight, the team has suggested that they will be sellers at the trade deadline. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ben Revere, and others have been mentioned as players who may find a new home soon. And former lock-down closer Jonathan Papelbon recently indicated that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause in order to spend the remainder of the season and beyond with a contending team.

The Phillies would most certainly love to move him, but would the Detroit Tigers be a good fit?


Papelbon is having a very good year, and has been a dominant closer in the past. I can't think of the Boston Red Sox's run to two World Series championships in the 2000s without thinking about Papelbon dancing an Irish jig in his athletic shorts.

His 1.24 ERA and .85 WHIP, paired with a 91.4-mph average fastball this year show that he still has the capability to get hitters out. He is averaging almost eight strikeouts per nine innings, has yet to give up a home run this season, and has saved 22 out of 24 save opportunities.

If you want to dig a little deeper, his 3.93 xFIP is right around league average. In comparison, Rick Porcello's xFIP is 3.85.

He has a bulldog demeanor and has pitched multiple times in high-pressure situations. He also owns two World Series rings.


The main reason would be his contract and the pieces it may take to get him.

Papelbon would be owed nearly $6 million for the remainder of the season, and has $13 million coming his way next year. A vesting option kicks in for 2016, again at $13 million, if he finishes 55 games in 2015 or 100 games in 2014 and 2015 (he's already at 30). Although the Tigers have had deep pockets in recent memory, this may be too much to take on even if the Phillies agree to kick in some cash.

Beyond that, the Tigers may not have the pieces the Phillies want. Even if they do, there is a likelihood their future value is more significant than Papelbon's current value.


As bad as the bullpen has been at times this year, I don't see Papelbon being the answer. Would you give up Robbie Ray or Jake Thompson for a year and a half of an expensive Papelbon? I wouldn't, and I am guessing General Manager Dave Dombrowski wouldn't either.

Unless Philadelphia General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. is willing to take on a huge portion of the contract and settle for a mid-range prospect, I don't see a trade getting done.