Since we have the same player on the nice list two years in a row, it’s only fair we have the same person on the naughty list two years in a row. While he didn’t finish the year with the Washington Nationals, Papelbon’s season was less than stellar in 2016.
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In 37 appearances, Papelbon went 2-4 with a 4.30 ERA and had 19 saves in 22 chances. He did only blow three saves, but throughout the first half of the season, the fastball velocity was down and the location made it easier for opposing hitters to hit line drives against.
During his last three appearances in the month of July, Papelbon gave up eight runs (seven earned) in what amounted to one inning. The Washington Nationals needed a closer, but Papelbon’s struggles at that time may have made Mike Rizzo push even more for that reliever. They ended up finding it in the form of Mark Melancon.
The Washington Nationals do not have that proven closer in the bullpen right now, but it’s better than the alternative of still having Papelbon. There were no clubhouse incidents this year like there was in 2015, but getting rid of one of the grinches in baseball after he asked for his release was the best thing the Nats could have done.
Washington Nationals fans, it’s now up to you. Who would be on your naughty or nice list in 2016? We would again like to wish all of you a Happy Holidays from all of us at the District On Deck staff.