Jonathan Papelbon‘s short time with the Washington Nationals hasn’t gone well. In addition to the brawl with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper, Papelbon struggled on the mound, putting up a 2-2 record in 22 appearances to go along with seven saves, a 3.04 ERA and a 16/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Going into the offseason, it seemed likely that they would get rid of Papelbon, but the Nationals plan to keep both Papelbon and right-handed reliever Drew Storen, according to Tom Boswell of the Washington Post.
Harper has personally reached out to Papelbon in order to improve their relationships as teammates, with one Nationals person telling Boswell that “Papelbon and Harper are fine together.”
While that may be true, it’s still hard to see Papelbon being in a Nationals uniform next season.
Papelbon is going to stay. He’s improving his relationships with his teammates. This is what the Nationals want us to think. They have to keep some value with Papelbon.
After the incident with Harper, it’s hard to see another team willing to take a chance on Papelbon. If the Nationals eat most of his contract, it becomes a slightly better possibility, but still unlikely.
One team that reportedly had interest in Papelbon last year was the Chicago Cubs, but do you see Joe Maddon taking a big risk in adding a personality like Papelbon’s to his young Cubs team? It’s highly unlikely and that’s not just the case with the Cubs.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but it still seems like a favorable bet that Papelbon won’t be in Washington next year playing for the Nationals.
Follow Robert Murray on Twitter: @RobertMurrayBBE