The rocky relationship between Jonathan Papelbon and the Washington Nationals came to an end on Saturday.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the longtime closer had asked for his release following Friday’s loss to the Atlanta Braves. That request was officially granted on Saturday as the Nationals made roster room for scheduled starter Reynaldo Lopez.
The Nats have recalled RHP Reynaldo Lopez from Triple-A Syracuse and released RHP Jonathan Papelbon.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 13, 2016
Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reported Saturday that Papelbon’s time in Washington was nearing its end one way or another after the team informed him they intended to designate him for assignment. Papelbon then reportedly countered by asking for his release, presumably so he can latch on with a new team sooner than later. Players who are designated for assignment typically have to wait a full 10 days for the move to be processed.
We can say this about Papelbon’s time in Washington: It never came close to panning out as the team had hoped.
After acquiring him from the Philadelphia Phillies, Papelbon had some rough outings. Particularly in September, where he allowed runs in four of his final eight outings. With frustrations boiling over after the Nationals fell out of the playoff race, it all led to the now infamous dugout choking incident involving Papelbon and Bryce Harper.
Many thought that would spell the end of Papelbon in Washington, especially after Papelbon filed a grievance against Washington for his season-ending suspension. The parties put it behind them though and continued working together this season. Unfortunately for Papelbon, his dominant form didn’t return in his age-35 season, leading Washington to acquired Pirates closer Mark Melancon.
Papelbon will walk away from the Nationals’ season with 19 saves and a 4.37 ERA this season. Don’t be too concerned for his future though, as we’re sure several contenders would line up looking to add some experience to the bullpen. Needless to say, it could be an interesting weekend.
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