I’m gonna get blasted for this post. Just letting you guys know, Jonathan Papelbon passed through waivers before i get yelled at. For even considering that the Dodgers should go ahead and go after noted poo poo face, Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon is a jerk. Papelbon doesn’t like Yasiel Puig. Papelbon is the classic “veteran closer” that teams love having. An intimidating presence who dominates on the mound is probably the most preferable type of pitcher to have as your closer.
As his stuff (and team) has deteriorated however, so has his reputation. He’s no longer a “presence on the mound”, he’s a “problem in the clubhouse”, he’s a “nightmare for the local media”. All of these sayings seem to coincide with him not being as dominant anymore. So I’m expecting gnashing of teeth when I say that the Dodgers should not only trade for him, but “demote” Kenley Jansen if that’s what it took to get him. The Dodgers have lost Paul Maholm, and Paco Rodriguez in the last week. They have also gained the right to not employ Chris Perez on the major league roster sandwiched in between them. That’s a lot of losses for a team that takes pride in having depth.
I am convinced the team does not think Yimi Garcia is ready, he is on the 40 man roster and can’t catch a flight to LA for whatever reason. Pedro Baez has been called up twice over Garcia. The team also doesn’t like Jose Dominguez for whatever reason, depth purposes probably, however, who really believes that any one of the young guys could come up and compile a 2.59 Fielding Independent pitching? Seriously, Papelbon has been worth 1.2 fWAR, and for a reliever, that’s an elite pitcher. Papelbon is good, blah blah blah. We’ve know this, however recently Papelbon used his not so personable personality to pretty much say “I won’t go to a team who won’t have me as a closer”. And people laughed. They snickered. They chuckled. They crossed the Dodgers off of the exclusive “potential suitors for Jonathan Papelbon” list.
No one is gonna want a hothead who is grossly overpaid other than maybe the Dodgers, but the Dodgers wouldn’t be stupid enough to “demote” Kenley Jansen, the second best relief arm in the national league, would they? Maybe that idea isn’t so dumb after all. Raise your hand if you were happy with Brian Wilson coming into the 8th inning last night and facing Mike Trout-Albert Pujols-Josh Hamilton-Howie Kendrick while the Dodgers’ best bullpen arm was faced with the impossibility of facing David Freese-Chris Ianetta-Colin Cowgill.
I didn’t mind it because Brian Wilson proved to be somewhat reliable recently, but even then, Wilson is simply acceptable as opposed to a real setup man. It looked dumb, it felt dumb, it ended up being really dumb as Wilson gave up the game tying dinger to Pujols. Let me give you a totally reasonable hypothetical scenario: Wednesday September 24th, Dodgers-Giants tied in the standings, top of the 8th, 3-2 ballgame Dodgers lead, Hunter Pence-Buster Posey- Pablo Sandoval- Brandon Belt coming up. Who do you want coming into this game? Especially considering that the next series is against the dreadful Rockies and you know a win could very well be the difference between pitching Clayton Kershaw in a 1 game elimination game, or potentially 2 times in a 5 game NLDS.
Who do you want, Kenley Jansen with Papelbon coming in to clean up in the 9th in a relatively harmless situation considering that 8th inning nightmare? Or do you want Brian Wilson coming in to try and shove that 1 run cushion past the Giants, who put everything in play? And you know Wilson will be in this role, how could he not? Mattingly said the exact same thing about Brandon League early on this year “he will need to get big outs for us”.
So I prefer not to recklessly crash into that situation when it gets here, use your best bullpen arm in the highest leverage situations, and hope that a really good bullpen arm can close out games, the less heartache the better. I imagine this situation won’t happen, if Jonathan Papelbon says he’s fine with Jansen as a closer, then fine, all the better. But the Dodgers are a better team with Papelbon and Jansen in late inning scenarios than Jansen and Wilson, do the smart thing and trade little to nothing for the hotheaded reliever and improve the ballclub.