Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Papelbon Situation

I won't go into the glory details of what happened during the 9th inning Sunday as I'm sure most know, but here's a quick refresher: after blowing a save out of the water, Pap is walking to the dugout when two things happen... fans boo and he grabs his crotch "to adjust himself", according to Pap. He is ejected by Joe West and Pap goes on a bit of a tirade. MLB later suspends Pap 7 games for making the gesture, running at Joe, and publicly displaying his anger. Joe got one game for improperly restraining Pap.

So, why did Pap do that? I do think he was adjusting himself, but that does not excuse his timing. Now, I do think a fine and one- or two-game suspension is necessary as he needs to learn to control himself, especially with the anger & frustration part of the incident. Yes, the gesture can be interpreted as toward the crowd as he did that after the crowd booed him, but Pap needs to be careful with stupidly running in Joe's path back to the IF. For that, a suspension is clearly warranted, usually one game for the first offense.

So, let's say that the first game of the seven Pap can't partake in is for contacting an ump. That means that MLB suspended him 6 games for the gesture, which he says was adjusting himself. Let's put that in perspective:
  • Hitting a batter costs 5 games (a la Hamels vs. Harper)
  • Pineda got 10 for pine tar on neck (he kept his salary).
  • Sosa got 7-8 for the corked bat.
  • Brawls result in suspensions ranging from 1-2 games for coaches/ managers to 7 games for the players whose actions caused the brawl.
So, in MLB's view, this is worse than hitting a guy on purpose/ instigating in a brawl and as bad as cheating. I think MLB has mixed up priorities. Still, it does not excuse Pa's behavior. Pap accepted his suspension, which isn't a bad thing in the long run - shows he accepts the consequences for his behavior.

Now, I have one questoon to ask & I'll also give my opinion on it: Did Pap deserve the boos?

Here's why he did deserve the boos:
  • Blows 4-1 lead in 9th.
  • Says he'll accept/ request trade to contender & questions front office decision-making.
  • Makes other inflammatory comments from time to time.
Here's why he didn't deserve them:
  • 2.48 ERA, 104 saves, and 88% success rate in three seasons with the Phils entering Sunday
  • Came into Sunday's game with near-1.5 ERA for 2014 (ERA inflated by 0.6 runs with BS)
On the field, when the Phillies have a lead entering the 9th inning, I trust the Phillies to hold the lead 90% of the time, and that's because I know Pap has an 88% save pctg. w/ the Phillies. It seems that the fans are not willing to overlook his off-the-field comments, that most seek an opportunity to boo him. I don't think that's fair. He is overpriced & controversial, yes; however, he finishes our games successfully ~90% of the time.

I will gladly approve if the Phils trade him, but I won't ask for him to be traded just to trade a player. It needs to be for the right price: Pap & 50% of salary for A+ prospect is a good deal. More on roster moves in the pitching considerations for 2015 entry coming this month. For now, enjoy the games, what little there is to enjoy about the Phils. Who knows what the last two weeks hold with a full roster. Might see something cool: Franco, Giles, Gonzalez, and perhaps a winning record for September.

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