Washington DC mixes business and politics all the time so why not the business of baseball? Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell who is a die-hard Nats fan gave his 2¢ when it came to Jonathan Papelbon (video below) as he was asked, “How are your Nats going to come back next season”:
“[Groans] Wellll, uhhhhm, first of all, they need to get rid of Papelbon. Getting in fights with the Most Valuable Player in the National League strikes me as NOT a team-building exercise.”
This morning on MLB Network Radio on Sirius/XM, they had special guest Bill Ladson on with Steve Phillips. Phillips asked if Ladson had to bet his life on it, who would get more saves out of Papelbon and Storen. Ladson answered that he thought Papelbon would earn more saves with the Nats because he just hasn’t seen a trade market open up for him and thinks the Nats will be stuck with him. Ladson felt that there was a limited trade market for Storen.
For right now, the Nats bullpen is at 9 players for 7 spots with Papelbon and Storen still part of the mix, and that leaves Blake Treinen and Rafael Martin on the outside looking in. On top of that Sammy Solis is well down the depth chart for starters and said at the Nats Winterfest, “I want to make the roster however I can. Starter, bullpen, and I’d even be catcher [laughing] if that’s what it takes.”
Last week we analyzed the front of the bullpen with the 4 new acquisitions by Mike Rizzo which was lefty Oliver Perez and righties Yusmeiro Petit, Shawn Kelley and Trevor Gott. http://www.talknats.com/2015/12/10/front-of-the-bullpen-constructed-in-nashville-oliver-perez-shawn-kelley-yusmeiro-petit/
Ladson on the radio show this morning said the Nats are pursuing options to get another closer. That’s all well and good, but that would make 10 men for 7 spots. Rizzo has his work cut out for him. Worst case is that graphic above shows what the Nats bullpen could look like if no further moves are made; however, our source has said that Rizzo would like to trade Storen who has value and only this 2016 season remaining of team control before Free Agency.
If Rizzo could trade Storen and snag a prospect for him, that would project Kelley and Rivero as the 2 set-up men. That would also create a spot for Treinen in the front of the bullpen.
There still is time, but now you have some political ⊗ pressure being applied for Rizzo.
From C-Span video:
This is from ESPN as they have obtained Papelbon’s no-trade list for 2015, and it includes the following 17 clubs where he can block a deal: Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays.
The remaining 12 teams that Papelbon can be traded to without his consent, according to the list: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets,St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays.
Papelbon has long since been rumored to be perfect for a Cubs reunion with Theo Epstein and the good news is that the Cubs were not on his 2015 no-trade list. The bad news is the Cubs would have to want him and be a viable trade whereby Rizzo would want to do the deal.