Late in the season Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper got into a dugout dustup which resulted in Papelbon putting his hands around Harper’s neck. It got everyone talking, Papelbon suspended and was one of the many reasons Matt Williams was fired.
But as a feud it will not, apparently, extend into next season. Here’s Tom Boswell, writing about the State of the Nats:
Since the end of the season, Bryce Harper has reached out to Jonathan Papelbon to make sure their relationship as teammates is functional next season.
“Papelbon and Harper are fine together,” one person inside the Nationals said, referring to Harper’s phone call. “Harp just wants to win. All he cares about is that we have a 45-save relief pitcher who’s going to help us.”
For all of the controversy, it’s probably worth remembering that Papelbon was highly effective for the Phillies last season and, though less effective once he came to the Nats, still stands as one of the top closers in the game. Maybe the Nats try to trade him away, but given his contract and his history it wouldn’t likely be a great deal for them. The best bet may simply be trying to reboot. If that was the point of Harper’s call to him, all the better for the Nats.