The way things have been going on the field lately, doomsday doesn’t seem too far off in the horizon for the Phillies. Ruben Amaro Jr. is readying the button.
According to a report by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Phillies have begun scouting the farm systems of three Major League teams that may be interested in acquiring closer Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline. Cafardo also indicates Amaro is not high on the idea of shipping out Cliff Lee, the subject of numerous trade rumors since before the season began.
Apparently RAJ believes the Phils can get a significant return of prospects for Pap, who is 13 for 13 in save opportunities this season, without gutting the roster.
2. Jonathan Papelbon, RHP, Phillies — The Phillies believe there are at least three teams — Red Sox, Tigers, and Cardinals — that may have some interest in Papelbon at the trade deadline. It’s no secret the Phillies are scouting those teams with Papelbon in mind. Ruben Amaro Jr. came out and said last week that he’s not ready to “blow up” the Phillies. And while the Philadelphia GM is not crazy about moving Cliff Lee, Papelbon could provide the “retooling” with younger players the Phillies need.
As superb as Papelbon has been, it’s clear closer is a luxury for the Phillies right now. His 13 saves are tied for eighth in the National League, which means he’s not getting enough opportunities to justify his roughly $13-million-per-year salary, and Charlie Manuel won’t utilize Pap in almost any other situation.
Edward Mujica has 19 saves and a 1.82 for the Cardinals, which would seem to make them a curious target for Papelbon. The Tigers’ Jose Valdevere is 35 though, and has blown three of 12 save opportunities this year. The Red Sox also make sense per the following report via NESN:
Just over a month ago, Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan was diagnosed with a torn flexor muscle tendon, and shortly after underwent season-ending surgery. Since returning from the disabled list in late May, now-closer Andrew Bailey has gone 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA and three saves in four opportunities in nine innings of work.
Papelbon was asked about the possibility of returning to Boston during their series against the Phils back in May, an idea to which he sounded receptive. Can’t say I blame him with his former teammates clutching to first place in the AL East while the Fightins are headed back in the wrong direction.
>> MLB trade market revolves around pitchers [Globe]