Friday, January 23, 2015

Ways Ruben Amaro Might Blow Up a Papelbon Trade

Throwing a baseball finances this kind of life

Word broke yesterday that the Phillies and the Brewers were close to a trade involving closer Jonathan Papelbon. This is not a post about how Pap might not be worth whatever pittance the Brewers may need to give up or how it makes no sense for the Brewers to add a closer. Pap's a good closer & the Brewers rarely make sense (They do find success in spite of that). No, I'm much more curious about how Ruben Amaro will get in the way of himself and keep another one of Phillies diminishing assets on roster to erode away.

1. "I'm not just going to give my best players away" This is one I'm sure Amaro is running through his head right now. Yes, Papelbon probably is one of the Phillies best players after Cole Hammels and Cliff Lee. But a good closer is a complementary piece. He probably shouldn't be one of the 3 best players on your team.

2. "I'm not going to pay one of my best players to play for some one else" Same idea as above, but the Brewers are reasonable enough to look at their own situation and see that a $13 mil a year closer does not fit into what they are trying to do. But it does make sense to add a bullpen piece to gear up for a 2014 Royals type run & take a shot at the Wild Card. Especially if you can get that closer at $7 mil.

3. "I know the market for RP's is kind of weak, but this guy is one of the best in the biz" Pap may be one of the top closers in the game. He might able to save 50 games a year, but if he is on a team that only wins 70 he's an underutilized asset. 

4. "You can have the player, but I'm keeping the bulldog" Most people don't know the real reason that Papelbon left the Red Sox. During parts of Pap's tenure there, the Boston media's normal drama creation machine had largely stalled. Manny & Pedro were gone, Big Papi was signed to a sufficient contract and Pedroia was funny, but hardly controversial. So they turned on Pap's bulldog. Story after story would surface about the dog's smell and lack of blending in to the clubhouse culture. At one point it was estimated that 75% of all spring training stories were about how that bulldog was undermining Tito's authority. Of course Pap didn't take kindly to this. No one likes having their dog's name dragged through the mud, and when Philly and Ruben showed the interest that they did in his dog, boom. Done deal. Ruben loves that dog and has been known to revoke clubhouse access to any writer that dared questions its presence.

5. "Wait, the Brewers are shooting for the Wild Card? But we're shooting for the Wild Card!" That's right. The Phillies are still here to compete. You thought trading their 35 year old shortstop was the signal of a rebuild? You thought wrong. The lack of moves since then tells us that Amaro is a full go with the guns hes got.

6. "Why should I make the next guys job even easier?" Eventually Ruben's got to see the writing on the wall. Some reports had him pegged on ready to rebuild the Phillies, but any rebuild process would still cost him his job. The Phillies have been in a downward spiral for the last 3 or so years with no signs of turning it around. Even if 2015 represents the bottoming out, they are at least 3 years away from competing again. You tell me how many GM's survive 6 subpar seasons of their own making.

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