I just turned on the Phillies game (because there is absolutely nothing to watch on Tuesday nights) just in time to watch Maikel Franco blast a game-tying homerun into an empty outfield. Shortly after, I watched Jonathan Papelbon come in and look absolutely dominant in the 9th inning, striking out the first two batters he faced. Since I have watched a total of three Phillies games this year, I decided to look up Papelbon’s stats because I thought we were supposed to trade this guy.
Besides getting distracted and laughing at the fact that Aaron Harang currently has the eighth best ERA amongst starting pitchers in the ENITRE MLB, I learned that Papelbon is a perfect 11/11 during save opportunities. He holds a 1.35 ERA (probably lower now after Tuesday’s game), which is 5th best when comparing him against closers who have at least 10 saves this season. After Tuesday’s win against the Reds, he now has 27 strikeouts in only 21 innings of work.
To an even bigger surprise, Papelbon has only allowed one homerun this season in a ballpark that is supposed to be hitter-friendly. He has not lost a game all year and has only allowed three earned runs total. His 0.90 WHIP puts him in the top ten amongst closers.
I know I am beating a dead horse here, but why the hell hasn’t Ruben Amaro Jr. been able to trade this guy yet?
Let’s face it, the 2015 Philadelphia Phllies are a total wash and I wouldn’t be mad if they traded the entire team (except Franco). I can name plenty of contenders in the league that could use Papelbon’s services. His contract might be a big issue, but RAJ should be more than willing to eat a large chunk of that money.
Teams like the Minnesota Twins (currently 4th in the American League), the Chicago Cubs (6th in the National League), and the LA Angels (5th in the AL) are all in need of bullpen help. According to ESPN, all three of those teams rank in the bottom-half of the league in bullpen ERA. The Cubs’ combined bullpen ERA is 3.87, making them 10th worst in the league. Cubs’ relievers are responsible for 10 of their defeats in 2015.
In terms of ERA, the three best bullpens in the league belong to the Royals, Cardinals and Astros. It is no fluke that these three teams are all in playoff contention and have three of the best records in the league. Bullpen success is important to carrying a team deep into the playoffs (see the 2014 KC Royals).
The trade deadline is not that far away and teams should be calling RAJ nonstop about Papelbon. Bullpen help is hard to find and it would be inexcusable for RAJ to screw this one up. That being said, I fully expect Papelbon to be on the team come August.
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