|Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.|
Teams that could want him- This is the hard part- who needs a closer? Detroit might decide they do, and the Angels and Pirates might decide their closer swap wasn't the answer. San Francisco has some closer issues as well these days. It's less about the specific teams today than it is about who feels on July 31st that having a proven closer can get them the World Series win they want, and can afford him. I'd say you're watching the Angels, Pirates, Tigers, Orioles, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Athletics, and Giants.
What we need to get back, money wise- Papelbon is owed $4.33 million after the deadline this year, and $13 million guaranteed next year, with a vesting option of $13 million in 2016 if he closes out 55 games in 2015 or 100 games between 2014 and 2015. So his guarantee is $17.33 million. My feeling is that you eliminate the money issue. Eat a majority if need be. You'll be replacing him with one of several hard-throwing youngsters, none of which make over $600k right now, so if you have to pay money to move him out of their way and get a better package, so be it. You planned to pay this money out anyway, at least you get some prospects playing for that money, instead of a closer sitting around.
What we need to get back, players wise- That really depends on how much money the Phillies eat. If they move all of his salary, i'd expect them to get one or two prospects, and they'd be guys that might make it. If they eat a good chunk of salary, I'd expect them to get a good prospect in the deal, and maybe another guy with a shot. It really comes down to how bad they want to save money on him, versus get something back.
The Outlook- Bye-bye Johnny Papelbon. There's really no argument to not trade him. If you keep him around, he occupies the closer job that Giles and Diekman can both take a shot at now, and he occupies it a game or two a week on a losing team. Whether you pay him or not, just moving him gives you a chance to try someone younger and with a longer shelf life. Beyond that, everyone's ready to move on from him here, and he should be on a winning team at this stage in his career. If they can save even a chunk of his 2015 salary, and get a potentially good player in return, the Phillies would be crazy to not part ways with #58.