The seven-game suspension of Jonathan Papelbon for his crotch-grabbing is all laugh-worthy, but it could also help save the Phillies some money.
Because general manager Ruben Amaro can’t help himself when it comes to veterans, he not only made Jonathan Papelbon the highest-paid closer in baseball when he signed him before the 2012 season, he even gave him a vesting option that could, if triggered, turn an already-too-long contact into five-year deal. What triggers the option, which would pay Papelbon $13 million for 2016? If he either (a) finishes 55 games in 2015; or (b) finishes a combined 100 games between 2014 and 2015.
Before the suspension, Papelbon had finished 50 games this season. His seven-game suspension will take up most of the rest of the season. While it’s possible that the Phillies would be dumb enough to let him finish 55 games next season to trigger the option, if they avoid that, it will take close to a couple weeks worth of work off of Papelbon’s plate for the two-year option trigger, making it easier for them to strategically sit him without it looking too much like they’re avoiding the option.
Of course, that all assumes that the Phillies want to avoid paying a guy in his mid-30s seven figures. Which is not an impulse they’ve exhibited much in recent years.