Papelbon now appears unlikely to sign with another team this season, WEEI's Rob Bradford reports.
He will need to sign before midnight Wednesday in order to be eligible to to pitch in the postseason, and according to Bradford, that is unlikely to happen. Only contending teams would conceivably see value in bringing Papelbon aboard, so if he remains unsigned on Thursday, he likely won't pitch in the big leagues again until 2017.
Papelbon was officially released by the Nationals on Saturday, the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes reports.
Papelbon is presumably upset that the team found a better option for the ninth inning in Mark Melancon and requested his release. The 35-year-old reliever posted a career-high 4.37 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP while striking out batters at a career-low 20.4-percent clip prior to his release. Factor in his bad attitude and apparent belief that he is still good enough to be a closer on a contending team, and it's hard to envision him generating much interest on the free agent market.
Papelbon is expected to be granted his release from the Nationals, the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes reports.
He asked to be released, rather than designated for assignment, so that he could catch on with another team as soon as possible, as the DFA process takes 10 days to finalize a switch in teams. Rather than remain with the Nationals as a setup man after the team acquired Mark Melancon at the deadline to take over the closing duties, Papelbon would prefer to go to another organization. It's hard to envision which team would bring Papelbon aboard as a closer at this point in the season, especially given his 4.37 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 31:14 K:BB in 35 innings. Of course, he could just want to get away from the Nationals and might be fine being used in the seventh or eighth inning on another contending team.
Papelbon is out as the Nationals' closer with the team acquiring Mark Melancon from Pittsburgh on Saturday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports.
Manager Dusty Baker refused to commit to Papelbon as his closer when asked early Saturday afternoon, and the team later informed Papelbon that he was indeed out after its acquisition of Melancon was made official. Papelbon, a free agent after this season, has hit a rough stretch lately with seven earned runs allowed in his last three appearances (spanning one inning). It's uncertain if Papelbon or Shawn Kelley will serve as the top setup option.
Manager Dusty Baker would not commit to Papelbon remaining the closer when asked about Papelbon's status Saturday, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports.
Papelbon was pulled from a save situation Thursday after allowing a run, two days after he blew a save opportunity against Cleveland, and Baker instead turned to Shawn Kelley to close out the Giants on Friday. Papelbon has given up seven earned runs in his last three appearances (totaling one inning), with four walks over that span. The veteran did turn in seven straight scoreless appearances after his return from the DL in early July, and it doesn't sound like Baker is willing to commit to a role change just yet, but the writing is on the wall for Papelbon's formal removal from the ninth inning.
Papelbon was yanked with one out in the ninth inning Thursday against the Giants after allowing a hit and a walk. He was ultimately charged with a run.
Oliver Perez and finally Shawn Kelley ended up piecing together the save, but first, one of Papelbon's baserunners scored on an error. The 35-year-old has unraveled recently, pitching a total of exactly one inning in his last three appearances while allowing eight runs (seven earned) with a 1:4 K:BB. Papelbon was already barely clinging to his job as the Nationals' closer, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him get displaced by Kelley on a permanent basis.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker suggested after Tuesday's loss to the Indians that the team could potentially explore a change at closer, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports. "It's too soon after [the game to make a decision on a closer]," Baker said about 15 minutes after the loss. "I mean, that's [Papelbon's] job. That's what he's getting paid for. I don't know. We just have to go back to the drawing board. It's too early to say after the game."
Papelbon blew only his third save in 22 chances on the season, but Tuesday's outing was a total disaster as he failed to record an out en route to surrendering three runs (two earned), two hits and two walks. He was tagged for four runs over 0.2 innings in his previous outing and with the Nationals fighting for playoff position, it might make sense for the team to explore other ninth-inning options until Papelbon regains his mojo. The veteran closer is sitting on a career worst 4.18 ERA and 1.42 WHIP for the season and has been outproduced by top setup man Shawn Kelley, who owns a 3.11 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 58 strikeouts across 37.2 innings. Look for the Nationals to at least address their underwhelming bullpen by acquiring a reliever prior to the Aug. 1 trade deadline, but it's uncertain if they'll pony up for a potential new closer now that the top prize on the market, Aroldis Chapman, has been dealt to the Cubs.
Papelbon (2-4) blew the save and took the loss as he failed to get an out and allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks Tuesday against Cleveland.
This marks Papelbon's first blown save since May 3rd against Kansas City, but it's his second poor outing after he allowed four runs in a tie game in the ninth inning his last time out Saturday against San Diego. His ERA has jumped from 2.56 to 4.18 just from these two bad outings. He's a solid for 19-for-22 in save opportunities, and a Ryan Zimmerman error contributed to this one, so his job shouldn't be in jeopardy quite yet.
Papelbon gave up a hit in a scoreless ninth inning Sunday, striking out two, to pick up his 19th save of the season in a win over the Mets.
His brief DL stint appears to have been just what the doctor ordered, as Papelbon has posted a 0.00 ERA and 8:0 K:BB in four shutout innings since his return. The Nats might well bolster their bullpen before the trade deadline but the veteran closer is doing everything he can to increase his job security.
Papelbon struck out one in a perfect ninth inning during Friday's win over the Mets to notch his 18th save of the season.
He's looked very good since coming off the DL last week, striking out six and allowing no hits or walks in three shutout innings. Barring a flashy trade for someone like Aroldis Chapman, Papelbon should remain locked in as the Nats' closer for the rest of the season.
Papelbon struck out all three batters he faced to notch his 17th save of the year Wednesday against the Brewers.
Papelbon was on to protect three-run lead, and made it as easy as possible by not allowing a batted ball to be put in play. He's now converted 17 of 19 save opportunities on the year, and he lowered his ERA to 3.04.
Papelbon pitched a perfect top of the ninth inning in his return from a rib injury Monday, striking out two, in a 1-0 loss to the Brewers.
It wasn't a save situation, but with the Nats trailing at home heading into the ninth there was no chance Papelbon would get a lead to protect. Shawn Kelley performed well as the closer in his absence, but it looks like Papelbon will immediately resume his duties at the head of the bullpen.
Papelbon (ribs) was activated from the 15-day DL on Monday.
Papelbon hasn't pitched in the majors since June 12 due to an intercostal strain, but he recently began pitching in rehab outings, tossing a scoreless inning for High-A Potomac and two scoreless frames for Double-A Harrisburg. He allowed just one baserunner during those three near-perfect innings, so the team decided the veteran closer was ready for activation. Considering the fact that it wasn't a lengthy absence, Papelbon should immediately return to his role in the ninth inning.
Papelbon (ribs) will pitch Friday and Saturday on a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Papelbon began his rehab assignment Monday with High-A Potomac, but he'll continue to move up the organizational ranks as he gets closer to a return. He said following his first rehab appearance that he felt good enough to come off the DL, so he may be available out of the Washington bullpen as soon as his two-game stint at Double-A wraps up.
Papelbon (ribs) said he felt great after throwing 30 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday, Jamal Collier of MLB.com reports.
This is good news for the Nationals as Papelbon appears to be getting close to full strength. The 35-year-old will now go to Double-A Harrisburg to throw back-to-back days before making his return in early July. Papelbon has saved 16 games in 18 chances this season and will get back to closing games once he rejoins the team.
Papelbon (ribs) said after his rehab start Monday that he feels ready to return, but expects to throw in a simulated game first, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports.
Papelbon threw a perfect inning for High-A Potomac in his first action since June 12, recording a strikeout. Evidently, the 35-year-old closer could be on his way back within the next week, barring any unforeseen setbacks.
Papelbon (intercostal strain) will begin a rehab assignment Monday at High-A Potomac, William Ladson of MLB.com reports.
Papelbon threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Saturday, just 12 days after last pitching in a game. He's eligible to return from the disabled list Tuesday, and is seemingly on track to rejoin the Nationals shortly thereafter. Shawn Kelley has converted three of four save opportunities while filling in as closer, with the only blown save partially caused by a two-run error. Papelbon still figures to retake the role, having converted 16 of his 18 chances this season.
Papelbon is hoping to start a rehab assignment Monday, William Ladson of MLB.com reports.
Papelbon, sidelined since June 13 with rib soreness, threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Saturday and is hoping to take the next step Monday. If all goes well this upcoming week, the 35-year-old should return to the Nationals' bullpen before the All-Star break.
Papelbon (ribs) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Saturday, William Ladson of MLB.com reports.
The intercostal muscles which Papelbon strained in mid-June did not present any issues during the side session. He may need to face live hitters once or twice, but Papelbon appears to be inching close to a rehab assignment. While Shawn Kelley has filled in admirably in Papelbon's absence, it would be a surprise if Papelbon didn't return to the closer role upon activation.
Papelbon (intercostal) has not updated his timetable but says he is back to throwing, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports.
Intercostal strains have a tendency to linger, so it's a good sign that Papelbon is already up and throwing within a week of heading to the disabled list. Still, he has a long way to go, and it's too early to assume he'll be able to make it back to the mound by his earliest possible return date, June 28. Expect him to go on a short rehab assignment before he returns to closing for the Nationals.
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