By Sam Bush

If Yahoo Sports is correct, the Phillies are about to unload Jonathan Papelbon, who either wittingly or not has come to typify the Phillies’ spiral into irrelevance in the NL East.

Yahoo is reporting that the Phillies have entered into serious discussions to send closer Papelbon to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Papelbon’s contract, which calls for a $13 million salary this season with a $13 million option for 2016 that vests if he finishes 48 games this year, includes a no-trade clause that can block deals to 17 teams. It is unclear if Milwaukee is on the list.

The Phillies’ desire to trade Papelbon is no secret as they start a massive rebuild that already has seen more than $40 million shaved off their estimated opening-day payroll.

While the 34-year-old is coming off a typically excellent season, with a 2.04 ERA and 39 saves, his flagging velocity and perceived negative attitude – Papelbon was suspended for seven games last September after grabbing his crotch following a blown save in Philly – led to them looking for a trading partner.

Milwaukee could be it. After sending Yovani Gallardo, who makes $13 million, to the Texas Rangers this week, the Brewers expressed interest in acquiring late-inning relief help.

After seven successful seasons in Boston, Papelbon joined Philadelphia on a four-year, $52 million deal. Over his 10-year career, he has a 2.37 ERA, 325 saves and 721 strikeouts in 627 1/3 innings.

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