Report: The Nationals have discussed a Jonathan Papelbon trade with the Phillies

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Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon is a strong possibility to be dealt by next Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but there’s a chance he could stay in the National League East.

According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals have had trade talks with the Phillies about Papelbon. Washington is reluctant to take on significant payroll during the season, but the thought is that Philadelphia might be willing to cover a large part of his remaining salary (he’s making $13 million this season) in order to get a deal done. However, there’s one big issue which could keep this thing from happening.

Papelbon’s contract includes a $13 million option for 2016 which vests if he finishes 48 games this year. He’s just 14 away right now and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com hears that he won’t sign off on a deal unless he’s in a position to get his money.

It’s hard to blame the guy. Of course, the Nationals already have an excellent closer in Drew Storen, who has posted a 1.73 ERA and 44/9 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings this season while going 29-for-31 in save chances. Clearly they are looking for additional late-inning help, but Papelbon might not be the best fit. Perhaps his opinion could change if the option is guaranteed as a condition of the deal and the Phillies pick up most of the tab.

Papelbon, who has been vocal about his desire to be traded to a contender, owns a 1.59 ERA with 40 strikeouts and eight walks over 39 2/3 innings this season. He’s a perfect 17-for-17 in save chances for the last-place Phillies.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.