New York Yankees Rumors: Should The Yankees Deal For Disgruntled Closer Jonathan Papelbon


The New York Yankees are said to be in the market for a right-handed relief pitcher.  Jonathan Papelbon continues to ask for a trade.  Would the Yankees, who can afford his salary, something that would push the price of prospects down significantly, be wise to inquire about the 34-year-old closer?

Although Papelbon is still a talented closer, something made evident by his 1.94 ERA since the beginning of the 2014 season combined with 54 saves (he is also 15-for-15 in save opportunities in 2015), the Yankees should avoid trading for him.

Yes, Papelbon would extend the Yankees bullpen, allowing Joe Girardi to use himself, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller in innings seven through nine, in whichever order he deems fit.  This would also mean that Adam Warren, Chasen Shreve, and Justin Wilson would become the teams fourth through sixth best relievers, a move that could arguably give the team the best bullpen in the game.

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Even with Papelbon’s production, he has never had a filter, something that Yankees fans fondly remember from his time in the AL East, as he infamously proclaimed he should receive closing duties over Mariano Rivera in the 2008 All-Star Game, the last season in the original Yankee Stadium.  Not only did the historic factor of the final All-Star Game have to be factored in, but Rivera was having a much better season than Papelbon, and he was also, you know, the best closer in baseball history.  If Papelbon couldn’t realize a moment involving Rivera was bigger than his ego, then why should we assume he’s willing to accept a non-closer role, something the Yankees may ask of him, especially with Miller having a great season.  A big mouth can also cause a lot of troubles and distractions for a team playing in front of the New York media, just ask Alex Rodriguez.

Although Papelbon could help the Yankees bullpen, there are several players on the market who could do the same.  Joaquin Benoit, Francisco Rodriguez, and particularly Craig Kimbrel are great examples of this.  They all are similar relievers to Papelbon, but without the distractions or headache.

Many fans dislike Papelbon, and others will claim that he would be more likable if he were pitching for our team.  Unfortunately, the baggage he would bring with him isn’t worth the talent.  Kimbrel would represent a better upgrade, even in a down-year.  Although he is not pitching up to his standards, Kimbrel still is among the league’s best closers, and he has led the National League in saves the past four seasons, totaling 186 saves, while posting a 1.43 ERA and 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Papelbon would represent an upgrade from a talent standpoint, but, with better options on the market, the Yankees would be wise to avoid adding a player that would bring unneeded drama to a clubhouse that has avoided controversy for the first time in years.

Next: New York Yankees Editorial: Why Michael Pineda Needs to be the Yankees Work Horse

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