The trade deadline is almost here, so many teams who are getting revved up to make a postseason run are looking for help, while others, like the Philadelphia Phillies are trying to figure out what went wrong, and to get their act together for next year.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon is a veteran who wants to get out of Philly as fast as he can - he has had enough of the struggles, and he doesn't want to be part of the rebuild.
In an interview after his successful outing Wednesday evening he told CSN Philly that he has seen enough of the Phillies losing ways, and he is hoping a contender would come a calling.
The Phillies' closer posted his 22nd save for what is turning out to be a successful individual season for Papelbon, with a 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. He has only blown two saves so far this year.
He was asked if he hoped his strong performance would get a good teams attention, and he was incredulous in his response.
"Of course, man," he said. "What kind of question is that?"
Papelbon has been pitching lights-out so far this year. He has a 1.24 ERA, and he has 32 strikeouts over 36 innings. His WHIP is a measly .85.
He is obviously feeling better than he did last year, when he was hurt most of the season.
He says he is feeling better, and that his mechanics feel healthier.
The Phillies did not make the playoffs in Papelbon's first two seasons with the club. They are in last place in the NL East this season and on pace for 90 losses. They are currently 41-51 and trail the Nationals, Braves, Marlins, and Mets.
The Phillies tried to trade Papelbon last winter but found no takers because he was coming off a poor 2013 season and was owed $26 million for 2014 and 2015. Papelbon is owed the remainder of his $13 million salary for this season and $13 million for next season, so he won't be cheap, but that is still alot cheaper than he was last year. Phillies management has indicated that it would absorb some salary in trades and it's likely they would agree to move Papelbon, especially after he has voiced wanting to go.
As far as possible suitors are concerned, most list include the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels and the Detroit Tigers. All three have had some closer issues this year. The Baltimore Orioles might make sense, too. All four teams are contenders this year.
The Giants just inserted Santiago Casilla into the job last week after Sergio Romo was removed by Bruce Bochy after struggling this year. Santiago has done well, posting three straight saves, but he might not be a long term fix. The Giants are only a half game behind the Dodgers in the National League West.
The Angels are leaning on Joe Smith at closer, and he has done a pretty good job. He has logged 12 saves so far, and he has a 2.5 ERA. They have bolstered the bullpen lately, but it might not be enough to deal with the powerful Oakland A's. If they want to make a strong run in the postseason, then 'pretty good' isn't going to get it done, so Papelbon would be great for L.A.