Jonathan Papelbon‘s tenure with the Phillies was, oh how should I say, something. His time as a Phillie began as the club’s time as a postseason contender ended, joining the team during the 2011-12 offseason.
Papelbon had plenty of success in Philadelphia, recording 123 saves in 234 games to become the franchise leader in saves. He also had a 2.31 ERA, 1.022 WHIP, 252 strikeouts, and 52 walks in 237.2 innings. With those kinds of numbers, Papelbon’s time as a Phillie should be remembered fondly. However, what he did when he wasn’t pitching became his lasting legacy in Philadelphia.
During the 2014 season, he openly welcomed a trade to a contender at the trade deadline. His most infamous moment came in September when he grabbed his crotch towards the fans after blowing a save. That and the ensuing confrontation with umpire Joe West led to a seven-game suspension for the closer.
Papelbon wasn’t done yet though, getting in a heated argument with 94 WIP’s Howard Eskin (I don’t know who to root for less) before a game. He also stated that he never felt like a Phillie, instead identifying more with the Red Sox who he started his career with.
Papelbon finally got his wish to be traded as the Washington Nationals needed any help they could get for their bullpen. His antics still weren’t over as he was suspended two games for throwing at Manny Machado’s head. Then, in what he will always be remembered for, he choked out Bryce Harper in the Nationals dugout against the Phillies of all teams. If you google “papelbon,” “harper” is the first autofill.
So what did the Nationals give up in exchange for all this? Nick Pivetta. While Pivetta has not quite been the starter we hoped he could be this year, the fact that the Phillies got someone who is contributing to the major-league club is more than they could have asked for.