The Dodgers Should Be “In” On Jonathan Papelbon


Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been written about Jonathan Papelbon since Mark Saxon tweeted that a baseball source thought the Dodgers would be after Jonathan Papelbon.

And why not?  the Dodgers’ front office has made it perfectly clear that they’re not interested in giving up prospects. It’s why Joc Pederson hasn’t been traded, and could be the Dodgers starting centerfielder before the trade deadline is over. I have even seen the word “imminent” describing a Joc Pederson callup around the web. It’s why Corey Seager won’t even be discussed in any type of deal short of a Giancarlo Stanton move (I hope). It’s why they’ve spoken so highly of Julio Urias, it’s why Zach Lee hasn’t been dealt after all these years of Matt Garza trade rumors, Ryan Dempster trade rumors, Jake Peavy trade rumors, the list goes on and on.

So clearly we  have a team that is very interested in building up their once rotten minor league system. Taking a look at what the Angels gave up yesterday for Huston Street (combined -0.5 fWAR the past 2 seasons), a top 100 prospect as ranked by Baseball America coming into the season in 2b Taylor Lindsey, a young SS that just played in the Futures Game right alongside Julio Urias in Jose Rondon, a dominating relief prospect in R.J. Alvarez, and a starting pitcher in High A in Elliot Morris, money over prospects seems to be the right path to follow this year again.

Last year it was Ricky Nolasco and Brian Wilson who were had because of money, the year before it was the Nick Punto trade that brought in Nick Punto, and a couple of other baseball people, Shane Victorino (Hunter Pence would have been the “prospect route”), Brandon League, claiming Cliff Lee. We can see a similar trend going on here since new ownership took over. The Angels didn’t have a consensus “top 100 prospect” to give up in the Street trade, however we aren’t talking about a starting pitcher like Ricky Nolasco, or Ryan Dempster, or Scott Feldman, or any one of the #4 starting pitchers that have been available the last couple of years, we’re talking about a guy who is pitching one inning, 3 or 4 times a week, maybe. Giving up the amount of value the Angels did for Huston Street is a bit troubling for the relief market. I could be completely wrong, and it’s a team other than the Dodgers valuing saves and all star appearances (Street has both) far too highly, but it’s not unheard of  teams overpaying for closers with veteran…. experience… and saves…..

Wait a second.

I’m getting to the crux of the post right here.

We’re all Dodger fans. We all remember Octavio Dotel don’t we? Ned has had a propensity to overpay for the players he’s wanted in the past, correct? I’ll be the first one to tell everyone that Colletti has had a stellar trading history, strip away Casey Blake for Carlos Santana, and you have for the most part, success. However I don’t want to be in a position that i’m rooting for the trade deadline to pass while Colletti is pondering whether to include Julio Urias or Joc Pederson alongside centerpiece Corey Seager in the Jon Lester and Koji Uehara trade. Or whether he wants to include Zach Lee, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias in the Cole Hamels and Antonio Bastardo deal.

I was disappointed that Saxon tweeted that the Dodgers are “not interested” in Papelbon

Papelbon is exactly the type of talent the Dodgers should be looking for, overpaid, former star, not exactly in the prime of his career, but still a valuable contributor to a major league ballclub, I mean a 2.33 FIP would be really nice, and a 3.18 SIERA would rank tied for 3rd on this Dodgers bullpen.

He’d cost next to nothing from a prospect point of view. While most are rooting for the young, dominant relievers who are controllable for a few seasons, i’ll be rooting for the overpaid, aging, angry star. Just remember, it’s conceivable that the innings Papelbon could provide over the innings that Chris Perez or Jamey Wright could end up providing mean the difference between starting Kershaw game 1 of the NLDS, or Kershaw in the inauspicious Wild Card “play-your-way-in” game. Not giving up much of prospect value makes this potential trade the one to root for in my eyes.