Ruben Amaro is still shocked no one wants Jonathan Papelbon

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The Phillies had a surfeit of expendable players that were perfect for other teams, but the club stood pat as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline passed. GM Ruben Amaro said other GM’s were overvaluing prospects, and that his demands for his own players were reasonable.

With the August 31 waiver deadline just a week away, Amaro is still shocked he hasn’t been able to arrive at a deal, particularly for closer Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon has been among the game’s best closers this season, sporting a 1.49 ERA with 31 saves, but he is owed $13 million 2015 and is likely to have his $13 million option for 2016 vest as well. That’s why Papelbon passed through waivers. Well, that and his still-declining velocity and a strikeout rate near a career-low. And also, he’s 33 years old. And also, Papelbon has said he only wants to close if he is moved anywhere else. And also, he said he wants to play for a winner.

Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Amaro also defended the closer’s abrasive personality and blunt comments, saying, “He gets ticked because we’re not winning. I don’t blame him.”

Looks like the Phillies might be stuck with Papelbon for a while, but they’ll try to find a taker in the off-season. Amaro has said he’s willing to include cash in a trade to move Papelbon elsewhere.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves