Washington Nationals News: Jonathan Papelbon Suspended For Remainder Of Season
By Ricky Keeler
After yesterday’s incident between Washington Nationals‘ closer Jonathan Papelbon and right fielder/National MVP frontrunner Bryce Harper, the organization took action before this afternoon’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. The team made a statement saying that Papelbon will be suspended for the final four games of the season, beginning Thursday night against the Atlanta Braves:
Before that statement was made by the team, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and MLB Network was the first to report that Papelbon dropped his appeal of the three game suspension Major League Baseball handed down last Friday after he intentionally hit Manny Machado in the ninth inning of Wednesday night’€™s loss to the Oriole€™s.
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Manager Matt Williams addressed the media after over a 90-minute delay and told them about the suspension and that Harper, who was originally scheduled for a day off today anyway, is out for this game because of his role in the altercation:
Papelbon, who was acquired in a trade with the Phillies on July 28 for pitching prospect Nick Pivetta, had a 3.04 ERA in 22 games with the Nats this season and converted on seven of nine save chances. After the altercation with Harper yesterday where he put his hands on Harper’€™s throat, Papelbon went out to pitch the ninth inning of a 4-4 game and gave up five runs (two earned runs) on one hit, which was a two-run homer by Andres Blanco.
Since Papelbon joined the Nationals’€™ bullpen, the organization is 26-29 in their last 55 games and they are out of contention for both the NL East and the NL Wild Card race. With Papelbon as the new closer, Drew Storen was demoted to the setup role. Storen had a 5.82 ERA in his last 23 games before fracturing his thumb due to slamming his own locker earlier this month.
The question now is whether or not Papelbon will be on the Nationals next season. He is due $11 million in guaranteed money, but after what happened yesterday and the comments general manager Mike Rizzo made today, saying
“The behavior exhibited by Papelbon yesterday is not acceptable,” it remains to be seen whether the team will trade/cut him. Nevertheless, it’€™s amazing how far this organization has fallen on the one-year anniversary of Jordan Zimmermann‘€™s no-hitter against the Marlins.
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