The 32-year-old right-hander was once one of the premier closer in the game. From 2006-2009 as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Jonathon Papelbon saved 151 games, made the All-Star team in all four years, and opponents slugged a putrid .281 against him.
His demeanor, character, and personality was part of his edge, from the simple way he took a deep breath before each pitch to his triumphant fist pump after each save. Teams respected him, and hitters feared him.
But now, with his diminished velocity and stuff, it would seem Papelbon’s act has gone stale. His once accepted outspoken personality is now a distraction and an annoyance, and the stats he puts up aren’t worth his antics.
Over the last four years, Papelbon has made the All-Star team just once, opponents have posted three of the four highest slugging percentages against him in his career, and the once dominating closer failed to strike out more than a batter per inning for the first time in his Major League career in 2013.
The fact is, his price (4yrs/$50M) just isn’t worth it. The Phillies are right to be actively shopping him. Papelbon posted a 2.92 ERA last year that stat gurus and scouts all considered to be lucky due to his diminished stuff and poor peripherals. It’s something a lot of teams are aware of.
So unless something changes, it’s doubtful that even the most bullpen-needy teams will come calling for the colorful closer’s services.