2015 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

Philadelphia Phillies trade Jonathan Papelbon to Washington Nationals

The Philadelphia Phillies finally pulled the trigger on trading one of their core veterans by dealing Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Nick Pivetta. The move had been in the works for days and could open the door for more moves from the Phillies. Moves like these tend to create a lot of changes for fantasy owners, so let’s take a look at the breakdown.

What the move means for the Nationals

It remains to be seen what this does to the breakdown at the end of the game for the Nationals. Current closer Drew Storen has 29 saves and is having the best season of his young career. Papelbon is also having a good season but only has 17 saves because of fewer opportunities. Papelbon has been begging for a trade for over a year now, but he also wanted to be in the 9th inning wherever he went. That might not be realistic with the kind of season Storen is having. There are also contractual issues to consider as we wind down.

Papelbon has an option that automatically vests for 2016 if he finishes 55 games in 2015 or 100 between 2014 and 2015. Currently, he has 34 finished games and he had 52 a year ago. He could easily get 14 more if he were the closer. He would do that with the Phillies. If he serves as the setup guy in Washington, he won’t get there and they won’t want to pay him the 13 million he would be owed next season. In essence he is rental. The Royals nearly won the World Series with the deepest bullpen in baseball history. It looks like most playoff teams are trying to do what they can to put more arms in their pen, too.

What the move means for the Phillies

Unfortunately, Ruben Amaro Jr. is showing why he probably will be out of a job next season. If he had pulled the trigger on Papelbon before the season or at the trade deadline last season, he likely would have gotten at least one more prospect out of it. Pivetta has been highly rated by scouts and the pundits, but he is seen as more of a project at this point. At 6’7″, his pitches have a downward trajectory and he can reach up to 96 on the gun. Right now, he is searching for more consistency.

However, the biggest difference for fantasy owners will be the promotion of Ken Giles from setup man to closer. He converted his first save of the season on Tuesday night. He might be worth an add in leagues that only count saves. If your league counts holds, I’m sure someone else owns him at this point. Otherwise, the haul for the Phillies was a bit underwhelming.

What this move means for you

Like we just saw, the Phillies have a new closer in Ken Giles and Papelbon owners will likely see him demoted to a setup role. Holds are just as valuable as saves in leagues that use them, but otherwise, he suddenly has virtually no value in 5×5 leagues. Drew Storen owners also might want to keep an eye on their guy. If he falters, he might end up seeing his job taken as well.

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