No one wants to trade for Jonathan Papelbon

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Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, though expensive, has been one of the best in the business since signing a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies after the 2011 season. In the three seasons since, he has saved 106 games with a 2.45 ERA and a 212/44 K/BB ratio in 198 innings. Only a handful of closers have been better: Craig Kimbrel, Greg Holland, Huston Street, Aroldis Chapman, Fernando Rodney, and Kenley Jansen are the only other ones to have saved at least 95 games with a lower ERA than Papelbon since the start of the 2012 season.

And yet, no one wants to trade for Papelbon, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. He writes that the Blue Jays and Astros are two teams with an obvious need at the back of the bullpen but neither is interested in paying the price. Recent reports have indicated that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has a high price tag on his tradeable assets.

Papelbon, 34, will make $13 million in 2015 and, as long as he stays healthy and finishes 48 games in the upcoming season, will likely have his 2016 option for $13 million vest as well. In any trade, the Phillies would likely have to cover most or all of his remaining salary to get anything of value in return.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.