The Philadelphia Phillies are willing to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon. They are even willing to take on some extra salary to move him and his contract, which happens to be the largest ever signed by a closer.
Even with that being the case, and even with contending teams that need help in the bullpen (looking at you, Detroit Tigers), it appears that potential trade suitors are not interested in engaging the Phillies about a potential deal.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., in a telephone interview Saturday, expressed surprise that closer Jonathan Papelbon isn’t drawing more trade interest.
Papelbon cleared waivers, so he is available to any club. And while his contract includes a $13 million salary next season and $13 million vesting option for 2016, Amaro said that he has made it clear to other GMs that he is willing to include cash in any trade, “including possible vests.”
Papelbon is dealing with a gradual decline in his fastball velocity, but he has still been a excellent reliever this season. In 54 appearances he has a 1.49 ERA with 31 saves. If ever the Phillies were going to have a realistic chance to find a deal for him, one would assume that now is the time with those numbers.
Besides the potential return from a contending team like the Tigers for Papelbon, the Phillies would also like to trade him to make room for their closer of the future, Ken Giles. Some have even suggested that the Phillies should remove Papelbon from the closer’s role to hand the reigns to Giles.
It would be a heck of a lot easier for them if they could trade Papelbon and avoid that uncomfortable situation. Unfortunately for Ruben Amaro Jr and company, that looks unlikely to happen between now and the end of the month.