Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Naughty List: Jonathan Papelbon
Just as Harper was an easy choice for the nice list, Baseball Santa makes the easy choice of putting Papelbon on the naughty list this year. The Nationals acquired Papelbon at the trade deadline this July from the Phillie for right-handed pitching prospect, Nick Pivetta. While Papelbon was 7-for-9 in saves with the Nats, that is not what he will be remembered for in 2015.
Of course, we all go back to September 27 against the Phillies when Papelbon put his hands on Bryce Harper’s throat in the dugout. Papelbon would end up not playing another game for the rest of the season. Now, the Nats are trying to find some way to trade him, but it doesn’t sound like anyone’s interested.
While it’s not fair to solely blame Papelbon for the team’s second half swoon, the acquisition of Papelbon did affect Drew Storen, who ended up being demoted to the setup man. After an All-Star caliber first half, Storen had a 5.82 ERA in his final 23 games and broke his thumb slamming it against a locker door in September, causing him to miss rest of the season.
Even though Papelbon has shown he still is a good closer, even at the age of 35, it would surprise me if he were on the Nats’ roster when the team opens Spring Training in Viera, Florida. Plus, it is safe to say that there will be plenty of coal in Papelbon’s stocking when he wakes up on Christmas morning.
Next: Naughty List #2