Anyone who believes that Jonathan Papelbon is completely untradable should open their mind to money matters and other people's problems. As Baseball's Winter Meetings get set to roll, 'Cinco Ocho' is a real topic of conversation.
Yes, Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. will discuss this closer with colleagues who are willing to listen. A trade could take place if he's willing to eat some portion of the remaining $26 million on the 33-year-old's contract that's guaranteed through 2015.
Exchanging Papelbon for another veteran reliever is also an option, as there's always similar players who other GM's are looking to move. But, Amaro did give him a limited no-trade clause, which does limit potential options.
It's not that number 58 has fallen off the statistical charts. His WHIP only increased slightly last season, as compared to 2012. But, Papelbon has appeared in 59, or more games, every year since 2006.
Losing approximately three miles per hour of velocity last season resulted in this stopper's strikeout per nine inning ratio dropping from 11.8 in 2012, to 8.3 in 2013. He also allowed more hits per inning (8.6 in 2013) than he had during any full season in his major league career.
Is Amaro certain to deal the feisty right-handed reliever? Of course not. The Phillies' embattled top front office boss will only do so if a legitimate replacement option can be obtained. But, the pressure to make a change at this spot on the roster is real. So, whispers in the winter wind aren't just rumor.