Washington Nationals Rapid Reactions: Jonathan Papelbon Has Got to Go
By Matt Weyrich
The recently eliminated Washington Nationals (79-76) fell to the Philadelphia Phillies (59-97) 6-4 in a meaningless game yesterday that took a turn for the worst when trade deadline acquisition Jonathan Papelbon and MVP-candidate Bryce Harper engaged in a skirmish during the eighth inning of Sunday afternoon’s contest. Harper was walking back to the dugout after popping out to left when Papelbon and the All-Star right fielder exchanged words that resulted in the closer advancing on Harper, with punches being exchanged.
Between this and his three game suspension, Papelbon’s attitude has been a serious issue both for opponents and teammates. Following his argument with Harper, he re-took the mound while Bryce exited the game. After which he gave up five runs, two earned, and could not finish the ninth inning. His problems with anger management have been a detriment to his team, and he should not stay on it much longer. When Bryce Harper, the player that has just put together the best season in Washington Nationals history, is attacked by a player, the organization better take notice. President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo would be out of his mind if he did not trade the 34-year old closer this offseason.
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With one year left on his contract, Papelbon would provide good trade value as one of the most dominant closers in the league. As far as pitching for the Nationals goes, he’€™s a cancer in the clubhouse and is unfit for this organization. With the bullpen likely getting an expensive makeover this offseason, Papelbon could find himself on the way out with new arms coming in. Whether or not Papelbon really does get traded, the Nationals bullpen is in need of a complete overhaul. Aside from injuries, the streaky bullpen has been the biggest problem in 2015.
After his early departure in the ninth inning, he sulked back to the dugout while earning a shower of boos from fans across the stadium. The fanbase has yet to grow much affection for the ex-Phillie, as often happens when a player goes to a rival team. His performance has been streaky as well, as he has only saved seven games since joining Washington. While other teams will likely point to this to lower his player value, he will most likely become an attractive target by the end of the offseason. He would not be missed by a majority of the Washington faithful, and could do them a service by providing a good return.
Next: Phillies Pound Nats As Papelbon And Harper Fight In Dugout