The Philadelphia Phillies refuse to pull the trigger on a fire sale, though it appears more and more likely such is going to happen.
Currently sitting at the bottom of the National League East with a 29-37 record, the Phillies are a far cry from the team many expected (more like hoped) they’d be as their veteran roster looks old and oft-injured. Now dealing with an albatross of a payroll, many believe the Phillies will eventually release the floodgates and move so many of their big name players which is expected to include closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Early season struggles lead many to believe that Papelbon may be losing his touch, but he has seemingly regained form in recent weeks and according to the Boston Globe, could potentially be a trade target of the Detroit Tigers or Baltimore Orioles.
One AL scout who has watched Papelbon’s outings indicated, “I’ll give him credit. I think he’s learning to pitch with what he’s got left. He’s not 96-98 [miles per hour], but he’s getting back up to 92-93 and making a lot of good adjustments.” A future Tiger, Oriole?
While the Orioles don’t exactly have a world-beater at their closer position currently, Zach Britton (who’s been filling in for the injured Tommy Hunter) has looked very good in the role and one may question if the Orioles really need to make a move for a closer. Of course, Baltimore would likely prefer to move Britton down in the pen, giving them more strength, but they might be better served looking to trade for a cheaper reliever.
As for the Tigers, they look rather desperate as Joe Nathan has been extremely ineffective, especially as of late. However, they have significant money tied up in he and other players and it’s a big question mark if they could afford Papelbon.