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Another day (January 23, to be exact– just weeks away from pitchers and catchers) and another loosely-sourced report that the Phillies possibly, maybe, might trade their most hated player.
Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan reports:
The Philadelphia Phillies have engaged in serious discussions to send closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Milwaukee Brewers, sources familiar with the negotiations told Yahoo Sports.
Papelbon’s contract, which calls for a $13 million salary this season with a $13 million option for 2016 that vests if he finishes 48 games this year, includes a no-trade clause that can block deals to 17 teams. It is unclear if Milwaukee is on the list.
But not so fast, my friend, says the bow tie man himself, little baby Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal):
Source: #Brewers on Papelbon’s no-trade list. Talks with #Phillies have picked up in recent weeks, but deal still not close. For #Brewers, #Phillies to make Papelbon trade, they would need to agree on $$$ going to MIL and players to PHI – and secure Pap’s approval. For #Brewers, #Phillies to make Papelbon trade, they would need to agree on $$$ going to MIL and players to PHI – and secure Pap’s approval. To this point, none of those things have occurred. But deal certainly not out of question, given #Phillies’ motivation to move Papelbon.
Rosenthal goes on to say that
he represents the Lollipop Guild for Papelbon to waive his no-trade clause, the Brewers would have to guarantee his $13 million option in 2016.
He also says that the Phillies may prefer to keep Cole Hamels around, because if Cliff Lee is healthy and capable of producing and his 2016 options vests, then the Phils would have at least two formidable starters in 2016… which, to me, makes absolutely no sense. Lee is 36 and coming off a throwing-arm injury. How useful will he possibly be a year from now, at age 37, on a team that likely still won’t have a lineup capable of contending? It’s just speculation from Rosenthal, but I wouldn’t put it past Ruben Amaro and the Phillies to actually be thinking along these lines. There’s an argument to be made for keeping Hamels around, but it has nothing to do with Lee.
Back to Papelbon: Jim Salisbury reports that the 12 teams he can be traded to without his permission are the Red Sox (surprise!), Rays, Royals, Angels, Mariners, Astros, Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Reds, Cubs and Padres.
Sadly, this will be the nature of most Phillies posts for the next, oh, three years or so.