Papelbon a National Embarrassment


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A 2012 Papelbon save. Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.

Yesterday, Jonathan Papelbon thought it was a good idea to attack Bryce Harper. That would be “face of the franchise,” 40 home run, young superstar, Bryce Harper. A day after being eliminated from the playoffs, Papelbon thought (or didn’t think at all) it would be a good idea to punch and choke most popular player on the team. Of course this fight began because Papelbon didn’t feel that Harper ran out a sure out hard enough. In reality, this started because Harper had the guts to say that Papelbon’s decision to drill Manny Machado a few days earlier was stupid and potentially could get Harper drilled back.

Harper has grown up a lot in the major leagues. I was a real “hater” when he came up, but he has shown increased maturity and willingness to be the face of his team. On Saturday, after the Mets eliminated his squad, he congratulated them and their fans. When a Phillies fan gave him his 40th home run ball, he signed the fan a different ball and spoke positively of that fan base. He’s embraced Washington, even when calling out the fans for leaving big games early. The once cocky kid has grown up into a decent guy and great ballplayer. The Nationals absolutely need to take his back here.

Papelbon on the other hand is a jerk. I almost feel bad now that I wrote that the Papelbon trade was a win for both sides, because frankly it wasn’t. I was sure the Nationals would play better and run away with the division, and that in that winning environment Papelbon would shut his mouth and be a championship closer. While he’s blown two saves in the last two seasons, Papelbon has proven he can’t behave anywhere. Instead of becoming that guy, he’s behaved like a complete jerk as a National, finally coming to a head with an attack on a teammate. Recently he trashed his former teammates in Philadelphia, actually questioning their effort. No level of class is attainable for the Phillies all-time saves leader.

Again, Papelbon has arguably been the best closer in baseball the last two seasons. He has blown just two saves. He’s made the All-Star Game. He did nothing to hurt the Nationals down the stretch, at least on the field. The issue though is whether or not any team should have this man going forward. In an ethical and honest world, the Nationals would release him today for this behavior. They won’t. He has $11 million guaranteed for 2016, and that is just too much to cut for most teams. They may try to trade him, but I don’t see a lot of teams lining up to take on the headache. So he’ll probably not pay much of a price at all for this behavior. That’s a shame, because the guy is a national embarrassment.

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3 Responses to “Papelbon a National Embarrassment”

  1. He’s a first class jerk but I bet it won’t be too difficult for him to find another job. Good closers are too hard to come by.

  2. I doubt the Nationals can do anything but bring him back. If he does hit the market, you’re right, someone will sign him.

  3. […] me of reality. As I read their ridiculously funny tweets about me drinking bleach, liking Papelbon (what?), and taking something from Ryan Howard in my backside- because homophobia and racism mixed […]

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