At any given moment the reported trade interest in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon is seemingly either non-existent or vast. Reality is probably somewhere in between, depending on how much Philadelphia is asking for in return and how much of his remaining contract general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is willing to eat.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com there was a “heavy scouting presence” to watch Papelbon’s appearance Thursday in which he recorded a nine-pitch save against the Orioles. Rosenthal also says there are “other teams inquiring” about Papelbon in addition to the Blue Jays and Cubs.
Papelbon has been incredible this season with a 1.01 ERA and 31/7 K/BB ratio in 27 innings, but because late leads are so few and far between for the Phillies his workload has been sporadic. He’s appeared in just 26 of the team’s 68 games, which is tied for the fifth-most appearances in the Phillies’ bullpen. And even within that nearly 40 percent of Papelbon’s work this season has come in low-leverage situations where manager Ryne Sandberg was just trying to get the closer some work after previously refusing to use him in more important non-save situations.
Papelbon has little use to the last-place Phillies and is still pitching like an elite reliever, so perhaps we’re finally nearing an actual trade after years of speculation.
Update (11:57 PM ET): And it’s over. Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the seventh with a line drive double down the left field line off of Stroman, ending the no-hitter. Manager Jim Leyland immediately removed Stroman from the game.
U.S. starter Marcus Stroman has held Puerto Rico hitless through six innings thus far in the World Baseball Classic final. The Blue Jays’ right-hander has held the opposition to just one base runner — a walk — with three strikeouts on 68 pitches.
WBC rules limit a pitcher to throwing a maximum of 95 pitches in the Championship Round, so Stroman has 27 pitches left with which to play. If he hits the limit during the at-bat, he can continue throwing to the completion of that at-bat. Needless to say, though, Stroman won’t be finishing his potential no-no.
The U.S. has given four runs of support to Stroman. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Then, in the fifth, Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen both provided RBI singles. Update: The U.S. tacked on three more in the top of the seventh when Brandon Crawford drove in two with a bases-loaded single and Giancarlo Stanton followed up with an RBI single.
We’ll keep you updated as Stroman and any pitchers that follow him attempt to complete the no-hitter. Shairon Martis is the only player to throw a no-hitter in WBC history. However, the game ended after seven innings due to the mercy rule, or as it’s known now, the “early termination” rule.
Ian Kinsler found himself in hot water on Wednesday evening when he criticized the way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play baseball. It is his hope that kids watching the World Baseball Classic decide to emulate the emotionless way players from the U.S. play baseball as opposed to the exciting, cheerful way players from other countries tend to play the game.
Needless to say, Kinsler’s comments didn’t sit well with many people, but he has the most recent laugh. Kinsler broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning of Wednesday night’s WBC final against Puerto Rico, slugging a two-run home run to left-center field at Dodger Stadium off of Seth Lugo.
Kinsler, of course, rounded the bases solemnly which is sure to highlight just how cool and exciting the game of baseball is to international viewers.