The Detroit Tigers were in desperate need of just one thing: bullpen help. Last year the Detroit Tigers showed they so desperate that were willing to give Jose Valverde the closer's job for a couple weeks rather than take Jonathan Papelbon off of the Phillies hands. Instead, they opted for an early exit in the playoffs and unrealized dreams. Yes, nobody wants Jonathan Papelbon.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted:
never seen player meet expectations & have as little trade value as papelbon. jays, astros, teams w/need, not interested.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 1, 2014
If Papelbon is "meeting expectations", then it must be about the money, right?
Earlier this offseason Jayson Stark said no, it's not about the money, when appearing on Atlantic City's 97.3 ESPN:
"Its not just the money, but teams are afraid of the guy, can't put him in the clubhouse." - @jaysonst on Papelbon.— 97.3 ESPN FM (@973espn) November 19, 2014
If Papelbon is really that big of a problem, did he get this way while a member of the Philadelphia Phillies?
Papelbon famously got suspended this past season for "adjusting" himself as he walked off the mound, and still denies it to this day. But the issues are within the clubhouse, something that the average fan will not be able to see. Howard Eskin of Fox 29 called Papelbon one of the "bad guys" in the clubhouse. Had the Phillies done their homework (even using Google), they may have realized that not many teams were going too hard after someone that was considered part of the clubhouse issues that led to former Sox manager Terry Francona's outster and Papelbon finding a new team.
Back at Papelbon's signing in 2011, our pal Mike Frohwirth called the signing a "massive overpay". While the money itself is not an issue, and Frohwirth's other concerns at the time (tying up money that could go to others) has not proven to be an issue, either, Papelbon is stuck with the Phillies for at least 2015. Unless he gets hurt, he will likely be around in 2016, too, when a contract option vests.
Papelbon recorded 39 saves with a 2.04 ERA in 2014 with only four blown saves. With 106 saves with the Phillies, Papelbon will likely become the Phillies' all-time saves leader in 2015, needing just six saves to tie Jose Mesa for a spot in Phillies history. Papelbon is an unlikely story of a pitcher performing extremely well in a time when pitching is scarce. And yet, no one wants him.