2015 with Philadelphia
Jonathan Papelbon and cash for Nick Pivetta
Not good. Not good at all.
It’s not even about what Rizzo traded to Philadelphia; Pivetta has a 5.73 ERA in 14 starts this season, his first at the big league level. This is all about Papelbon.
Close your eyes. Imagine you trade for an experienced closer to bolster your leaky bullpen. But suddenly, things go sideways. That pitcher fails to live up to expectations, the team continues to underachieve, your former closer asks for a trade, the new closer chokes out your 22-year-old MVP in the dugout, and then he pitches so badly during the following season that you are forced to buy him out.
Now open your eyes. Your name is Mike Rizzo, and you realized you just tossed a grenade into a locker room that was a ticking time bomb. That’s about as bad as a trade gets without actually giving up anything of value.
Papelbon was not the reason the Washington Nationals missed the playoffs, but he is one of the faces of that catastrophic season (Drew Storen did himself no favors, either). This was easily the worst trade of the Rizzo-era.