After reports leaked that Nationals’ reliever Jonathan Papeblon was seeking his release from the team, the team announced later in the day that his request was granted. Papelbon’s production has been poor this season, which made manager Dusty Baker remove Papelbon from the closer role in favor of recently acquired Mark Melancon. Papelbon publicly supported Baker’s decision, saying he would do what is best for the team going forward, but two weeks later, Papelbon decides to move on from the organization. His ERA is the highest it has been in his career at 4.37, and he has blown three saves this season.
Papelbon’s tenure with the Nationals has been quite the roller coaster to say the least. He arrived with high expectations last season, but the Nationals blew an early-season division lead to the surging New York Mets. Papelbon’s biggest memory with the club might be the choking incident with Bryce Harper, which many thought would spell the end of his tenure with the team. Instead, Papelbon remained on the club, but his headaches in the locker room may have been another reason to why they decided to release him.
A six-time All-Star and the closer for the 2007 World Series champion Boston Red Sox, the 35-year-old Papelbon now finds himself unemployed in the middle of August. According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, Papelbon would welcome a reunion with the Red Sox.
Bradford also added that manager John Farrell told the media that the team has not had any dialogue of bringing in Papelbon as of today. Boston added Fernando Abad and Brad Ziegler already in trades, but the bullpen continues to be their biggest weakness. Whether this is the end for Papelbon remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to see if a team gambles on an aging reliever who is clearly on the decline.