Saturday, January 24, 2015

Papelbon to Brewers Talks Hit Snag: Is Rube to Blame?

According to, talks between Brewers GM Melvin and Phillies GM Amaro, Jr. regarding Papelbon have hit a snag. This is nothing new to this Phillies fan, nor should it be new to anyone else: Byrd to the Reds hit a snag but got done anyway. So, here's the latest: Papelbon is likely to waive his no-trade clause to go to a contender as he said "I didn't sign up for this", where "this" refers to loosing games. However, he has put the Brewers on his no-trade list, so he can block this trade. In order for him to waive his no-trade clause to go to Milwaukee, which is coincidentally where he said he'd be ok leaving Philly, he would probably require his $13MM option for 2016 to be picked up. So, if the Phillies send Pap over, the Brewers would be on the hook for $26MM over two years, which is expensive despite Pap's slightly-higher-than-2.0-ERA. The Phillies have proven that they will eat salary ($5MM went to the Reds in the Byrd deal), but despite that, talks with the Brewers stalled.

I have theory as to another factor that led to this stall besides Pap's salary and no-trade rights: Ruben Amaro, Jr. Yes, it's not farfetched. Most of the Phillies fan-base doesn't approve of his tenure - 96-98% disapprove last I checked. At first, it was the big moves: getting rid of Lee in December 2009 and shortly thereafter extending Howard two years before he was due to hit Free-Agency. Then, all the smaller moves added up, some bad from the start and others bad after the fact. That alone would not be a problem, nor all the contradictory statements regarding contention vs. rebuild. His accusation after the trade deadline - other GMs were not aggressive enough - cost him dearly. Rule No. 1 of negotiation: NEVER accuse or insult the other party, even when you may be correct. In Rube's case, we know that his assessment of his players was wrong.

Can he still negotiate? Yes. Can this trade still work out? Yes. But I have concluded that this process would be a whole lot smoother if Rube was not the Phillies GM. I must say: Rube & the front office have done a good job trading our veterans so far. Nice returns and very little money sent over so far.

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