Report: Jonathan Papelbon will be traded by the Phillies

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Where and for what has yet to be determined–the Nationals are said to be making a strong push, for instance–but Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies will trade closer Jonathan Papelbon prior to Friday’s deadline.

Papelbon has made it very clear that he wants out of Philadelphia, but is apparently unwilling to serve as a setup man on another team. Not coincidentally, his $13 million option for next season vests based on games finished, so his 2016 status revolves around whether he remains in the closer role down the stretch.

Washington has emerged as a potential landing spot, but Nationals closer Drew Storen has saved 29 games with a 1.73 ERA. Papelbon has been every bit as good, albeit in far fewer save chances thanks to the Phillies’ underwhelming supporting cast, saving 17 games with a 1.59 ERA.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.