By Sam Bush
Once again, a concession granted by Phillies’ hopelessly in-over-his-head general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is coming back to bite the team as it tries to unload an overpaid player to a team that really seems to want him!
The Milwaukee Brewers and Phillies haven’t talked in a couple of days about a possible deal involving closer Jonathan Papelbon (being introduced as a Phillie by Amaro in November 2011 in photo above). The chief stumbling blocks remained the veteran closer’s no-trade clause including Milwaukee as well as a vesting option for $13 million in 2016.
That left it to the Phillies, who have been trying for many months to trade Papelbon, to sweeten the deal with cash or forget it. Papelbon has a $13 million salary this year, and should he demand the vesting option be guaranteed to OK a trade to the Brewers, money owed him would double.
“It doesn’t appear there’s any momentum to it right now,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Sentinel. “It could be revived later, I guess, but right now there’s nothing happening.
“Whatever traction there was seems to have dissipated.”
The Brewers have a $9 million commitment to Jonathan Broxton, who was acquired from Cincinnati on Aug. 31 of last season. Broxton was a closer earlier in his career with the Dodgers and Royals but served primarily as a setup man for Aroldis Chapman the last two years with the Reds.
The Brewers opened the 2014 season with two closer candidates, Jim Henderson and Francisco Rodriguez, which proved to be a good thing. Henderson had shoulder issues in spring training, never fully recovered and eventually underwent surgery. Rodriguez became the sole closer and clicked off 44 saves before hitting free agency.