According to a tweet from Mark Saxon, The Dodgers are coveting Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon. The Dodgers could be making a play for the 33-year old right-handed reliever at this year’s trade deadline.
It’s no secret that the Dodgers need some middle relief help. The club’s middle relief has been lackluster this season and adding a pitcher ofPapelbon’s caliber could be a huge boost for the club’s relief corp. If the price is right I would be fine with it. But would Papelbon be a fit? What are the pros and cons of Papelbon becoming a Dodger? Let’s take a quick look below.
Spoke to a baseball source today who said he expects the #Dodgers to pursue Jonathan Papelbon
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) July 16, 2014
Papelbon has always been a very talented pitcher. This year he is having one of his best seasons to date. The flame throwing reliever has a 1.21 ERA in 38 games. He’s whiffed 33 and walked just 9 in 37.1 innings pitched. Papelbon has an 8.0 whiff per nine rate, and a 0.85 WHIP. Papelbon has 22 saves, and an ERA+ of 309 this season.
Over the course of his career, Papelbon has a 10.4 whiff per nine rate, and a 6.9 hits per nine rate. He’s posted a career ERA of 2.33 and has recorded 308 saves. Papelbon can reach upwards of 100 MPH on the radar gun, and has always mixed in great strikeout stuff with microscopic walk rates and ERAs.
So Papelbon is one of the better relievers in the game today. That’s definitely a big Pro. He’s also got another full season of team control left on his contract. So if the Dodgers like him, and he works out, he’ll come back for another season.
The first con would be that Papelbon is kind of tool. He’s been a headcase at times. He’s made some dumb comments, and has somewhat of an ego problem. Would he be able to keep his ego in check and pitch in a set-up or middle relief role for the Dodgers? There is no way the Dodgers should ever usurp Kenley Jansen from the closer role ever again. We’ve played that game before, and it didn’t work.
He also makes all the dorky faces when he pitches. That could become tiresome. He’s good, so I could deal with it. After all we’ve been dealing with Wilson’s shtick for a year now.
Papelbon is also old and expensive. He’s 33 and owed 13 million dollars over 2015, and his vesting option of 2016. If Papelbon pitches in 55 games or 100 games total between 2014-2015, then his option for 2016 will vest. That could be a good thing, but more than likely it won’t. That could mean the Dodgers might be stuck with another aging and declining reliever. Let’s not do that again.
And who knows what the Phillies would want for him. It might take a good prospect to land him, or even someone from the major league roster. Would you want to sacrifice Scott Van Slyke for Papelbon? I don’t know if I would want to do that. It’s going to cost the Dodgers something. Philadelphia isn’t just going to give him to us for free.
He might not be ideal, but Papelbon may be an intriguing option, and addition to the Dodger bullpen. But only if the price is right. What do you think about Papelbon? Yes or No? Pro or con?