The Philadelphia Phillies would love to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon and his $13 million salary hit. Papelbon would love to pitch for a contending team and has been open to saying as much. Unfortunately for Papelbon and the Phillies, the teams that were in the market for a closer have already made their moves.
The Los Angeles Angels acquired Huston Street from the San Diego Padres. The Detroit Tigers added Joakim Soria in a deal with the Texas Rangers. Now the Phillies are left to talk trade with teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers or Baltimore Orioles, teams that would rather use Papelbon as a setup guy.
A $13 million setup guy? That is unlikely, and it also makes it difficult for the Phillies could get their desired return in a trade for him. As such, Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that the team is unlikely to trade Papelbon:
But even though he’d only been scored on twice in his last 37 appearances before the Giants roughed him up on back-to-back nights this week, sources say he’s unlikely to get dealt. He’s not going anywhere to set up. The Tigers and Orioles — two teams often connected with him — were never looking for new closers.
Papelbon is having nothing short of an outstanding season. In 41 games he has a 1.96 ERA and 23 saves. Having rediscovered his form despite diminished velocity in recent seasons, Papelbon would have drawn significant interest as a trade target. It is just that darn $13 million, way too much for almost any closer, that continues to stand in the way of a deal.