Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - I blame you

Monday, December 07, 2015

Monday Quickie - I blame you

It wasn't me. 

I hate the guy and from Day 1 I told you all you shouldn't root for him or celebrate him in any way. But did you listen? NO. You cheered him when he got a save. You welcomed him in. Well, you know what they say. You sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

Itching much? 

Papelbon's crew are trying to say there is "no precedent for a team suspension for this type of incident". That may be true.  I pulled out other team suspensions without pay last night on Twitter.

There was Julio Mateo beating his wife. Yunel Escobar and the homophobic slur adventure.  Jose Guillen being Jose Guillen. No, nothing in particular about a clubhouse fight. You could certainly argue that the first two don't really compare to what Papelbon did. Maybe the third one? Maybe?

The problem is that non-criminal related suspensions are generally for on the field incidents. Brawls are the most obvious example, but you can find suspensions for quitting on the field, bashing up the dugout, umpire interactions. But fights with teammates, real fistfights I'm talking here, don't normally happen in view of the cameras, they happen in clubhouses or the tunnel or somewhere else. Those things can be hushed up or ignored and dealt with using fines so much easier. Sure occasionally guys get into it in the dugout and it happens to fast that a blow or two (usually more a slap or shove) is exchanged, but even then you can simply pretend it didn't happen if everyone agree and no one cares about your team at the time. And even if you can't do that, if everyone just gets ahead of things and says they are past it and it won't matter on the field, ala Bonds/Kent, usually that's enough.

But the Nats situation was different. The fight was in front of everyone. The nation's eyes were still on the Nats, having just found themselves eliminated from the playoffs after being huge preseason favorites. Despite both Bryce and Papelbon saying what they should post-game, Williams wasn't able to corral the situation. First he sent Papelbon back out into the game then making it seem like he didn't understand what was going on. Add to that the Nats were already waiting on a looming suspension for Papelbon for throwing at Machado. They couldn't do nothing - and with season's end so close it was just easiest to suspend him for the rest of the year and not deal with this again.

So they did - but they didn't pay him. And like I said - it's iffy if that was the standard procedure.

Why wait until now to file grievance?   Why now to leak grievance?* Probably they were judging if the Nats were seriously shopping Papelbon or not. If the Nats were really looking at keeping Jon on the team, there isn't a big reason to fight over 400K if you are making 11 million. It's not nothing no, but compared to keeping your employer happy and maybe showing them you are a team player and worthy of signing to a deal after you hit FA, it's minimal. But if they Nats are actively trying to ship Pap somewhere else? Then hell, get that 400K if you can. That's my guess.

Anyway it's a mess, as is everything dealing with the back of the pen. Like I said, your fault. Personally I'm waiting for the Mike Patrick blow-up about the Nats after Drew Storen gets sent anywhere. Not your fault, though so there's that.

*Since I know nothing apparently my take isn't right - but it may not be wrong either. If they can withdraw a grievance than it is possible that the basic thought holds true. If they can't, well then I don't know. 

23 comments:

cass said...

I didn't cheer him. :-P

I actually hated that he was standing out there when the Nats one in the ninth. Well, it didn't turn out to happen all that often. Of course, I've always been on Team Storen. Wanted him to get postseason redemption badly. So you know how I felt about the season.

And now O'Day is signed with the Orioles and Chapman about to be with the Dodgers. The Nats bullpen is going to be a nightmare again. That being said, the Nationals should just release Papelbon now. They're not gonna get even a bag of balls in return. But he has to go.

h said...

WaPo:

"Jonathan Papelbon filed a grievance against the organization shortly after he received a team-issued unpaid suspension . . . in September, according to a person familiar with the situation."

If correct, many commenters are way off-base with this "wait until now" stuff.

Froggy said...

Trade his punk ass to a Korean team.

Or, since he is under team control make him sweep the dugout and pick up spit cups after the games. And if he refuses fire him for not living up to the terms of his contract.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Paps filed his grievance months ago and it was just reported now. So we may be inferring too much by thinking that he is looking for $400k now because he is going to be traded.

The more interesting question is why the grievance story is coming out now. It makes Paps look bad/cheap, so you wouldn't think Paps' camp would leak it. But you wouldn't think the Nats camp would leak it either--presumably, the Nats were already trying to move him, and this story just makes it (even) more necessary by making Paps look horrible, which undercuts Rizzo's leverage to make a deal.

Anonymous said...

It was a Boston reporter that broke the story, so I think Papelbon decided to leak it. I think he did it now to put pressure on the Nats to try and deal him during the winter meetings. Who knows whether that will work...

Hoo said...

How is NOT your fault Mr. Relievers are fungible, blah, blah, blah. See what happens when Rizzo listens to you?

The Stammen news is most depressing off-season. His injury exposed Williams in a huge way and threw the entire bullpen rotation into flux. (BTW, is Xavier Cedeno's season with Rays a major indictment of Rizzo/Williams bullpen management?)




Anonymous said...

At some point Rizzo goes to Dusty and says, hey, I can’t get enough for him and we aren’t picking X amount of his salary to play for someone else next year. Can you handle it? And Dusty looks at Mike and says, in his best Han Solo, “Hey. It’s me.”

Harper said...

cass - Team Storen t-shirts can be had pretty cheaply now. I'm still going to wait until it all shakes out before I judge but it certainly isn't a good start to the pen rebuild.

h - true-ish. It may be, now granted this is complete speculation, that in order for the grievance to be taken seriously you need to file it right away. But if you can withdraw your grievance the same basic "wait until now" structure would work, with the leaking of it being the formal "not going back" declaration.

Froggy - that'll never fly with union. But I do like it.

Anon @ 8:32 - perhaps. see above. I have my guess but if that's wrong/impossible than you do have to question why. It could be ANOTHER team leaked it to try to kill Pap's value, but if they know already then I imagine that would have no effect. Some speculated he's been held back by union and finally just said it because he's a jerk. or as Anon @ 8:37 says - maybe he thinks this helps him get dealt by making him look worse to Nats fans (assuming teams already knew about grievance)?

Hoo - relievers are fungible but I would never say go into a season where you want to compete with one and a half reliable arms (Storen/Thornton), with that one being someone you won't trust to close in playoffs regardless of his in-season performance.

A good team should have 2-3 reliable arms at all times, preferably 3-4 and should fiddle around with the rest of the positions to try to find cheap reliable replacements for those 3-4 when they get expensive. With 2 1/2 plus no confidence in closer Storen, the Nats were already at the low end so when Stammen went down they needed to find a replacement NOW. They didn't. Then they got bit by the sheer time it took them to find Rivero and maybe Martin.

I would recommend a BAD team basically let the pen run cheap.

Anon - I think he can handle it. I think Bryce can handle it. But I think everyone would rather not handle it. So you trade...but given that the Nats can't eat salary and Rizzo won't want to dump him for nothing in return... are they stuck? Someone is going to have to swallow their pride to get rid of him. Either the Lerners are going to have to pay him to pitch elsewhere or Rizzo is going to have to trade him and not get value back.

Anonymous said...

Where is John C. to cheer us all up?

DezoPenguin said...

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have grabbed up Chapman to pair with Jansen. We'll see how well that plays out, if either one of 'em goes Full Storen or they turn the back end of Dodger games into meatgrinders (plus they picked up Iwakuma, so between him and Ryu they at least have two solid #2-3 guys if they stay healthy, even if they lack that second ace). Glad we don't play in the West.

That said, the bullpen is a true mess now. We have Papelbon (good pitcher, total asshat), Storen (good pitcher, potential for head to unscrew at any time), Rivero (good pitcher, young enough to be unreliable), and a bunch of guys who can be described at best as being flotsam and jetsam. Both Stammen and Carpenter, who could have at least provided veteran competence (if their injury returns were acceptable), have been tossed away. Meanwhile, we've missed out on every worthwhile name on the market. It's like Rizzo saw KC win the Series, then said, "Just because they won the WS with that team makeup doesn't mean it's the only way to be good at baseball" and decided to make a team with the exact opposite bullpen.

And seriously, we have Dusty Baker as manager. Among the various things that he does well, I don't believe anyone lists "subtle and delicate manipulation of a deeply flawed bullpen to maximize its strengths and hide its weaknesses through careful strategic and tactical game planning." It's a bad thing when I'm actually half-sad that Starter-Killer Dusty was long gone, 'cause having Scherzer & Co. go 9 every game may have to be Plan A at this rate.

blovy8 said...

If we're going to go glass half empty on everyone, there's flaws to ANY player we could pick up. Y'know, well, Chapman is great, but he walks a lot of guys, won't field his position and you can run on him like pretty much NO other lefty reliever, makes a solid starting pitcher's salary for about 1/3 of the innings, is only here for one year, cost a crapload of prospects that will likely force the team to spend even more in the future, has an injury-waiting-to-happen delivery, etc. Then when the DC luck kicks in and he goes on the DL, who do we turn to? Rafael Soriano and with his awesome Domnican League numbers?

The offseason is young.

blovy8 said...

And yes, I'm aware that Papelbon's glass is no longer half anything, but is smashed and he's writing something on the clubhouse wall in his blood.

blovy8 said...

The Nats can eat salary. They've released guys that embarrassed them, or gave them nothing, or both, like say, Paul LoDuca.

I have to believe that if Blevins was dumped over 200K in arbitration, 11 mil paid to a guy who won't take his discipline like Pups will really set Rizzo into wheeler-dealer deluxe mode. If someone pays half and a gives him a reasonable facsimile of den Dekker, he's gone. But in that case, you just know that someone like Soria will be signed, or a guy like Uehara will come over in a trade that will make the antacid sales remain high in the DMV.

BornInDC said...

Something the Nats should point out in response to Papelbon's grievance hearing:

"Because of Papelbon trying to strangle NL-MVP-to-be Bryce Harper in the dugout, for an entire week during football season the Nationals were viewed by sports fans as the most dysfunctional professional sports franchise in the DC area. Do you have any idea how hard that is to do in a metropolitan area that includes the Washington Redskins? Clearly this incident was an extraordinary situation."

John C. said...

Sorry I'm late - some of us have to work during the day! ;)

I think the greivance is much ado about nothing. It was filed timely (two days after the suspension) and may have been as much from the MLBPA as from Papelbon. It happened before all of the "Bryce reaches out to Papelbon" rapprochement schtick. The question is, who gains from the story leaking now? My guess:

ANGELOS!!!!!! *shakes fist*

Zimmerman11 said...

Glad we didn't get Chapman... whoo doggie!

blovy8 said...

Yeah, I left out he's an ever bigger miscreant than Papelbon in my list. Shawn Kelley seems ok. I mean, until I find out he drowns puppies.

Harper said...

blovy8 - drowned PUPPY. It was just one. Everyone always exaggerates

blovy8 said...

Sorry, I was looking at his xPDI (Puppy Drowing Index) on the ASPCA site, Harper. It is important to look at the actual events and not projections...

Bilbo said...

Hmmm... Zobrist is too expensive. O'Day is too many years. Stammen was injured last year. Chapman and Kimbtel cost too many prospects. Palpebon is just business - no big deal he filed a grievance. This has been the worst offseason in a while.

Froggy said...

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/12/cubs-sign-ben-zobrist.html

Dang, our front office couldn't close a door let alone a deal for a good player. Rizzo's new nickname should be Remora for the way he nibbles on the leftover scraps of talent being devoured by the other GM's. Or maybe Clown fish is more apropos...

Zimmerman11 said...

well shit...

Zimmerman11 said...

"I did an interview earlier and apparently I'm in hot water for what I said," Baker told Gomez. "What I should have said, and what I was trying to say, is that 'Hey man, I don't condone violence at all.'


Well ... there goes hoping Dusty was any smarter than MW!