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Stock Watch: Papelbon’s rough week a lowlight of the season

Sep 30, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 2-5

Team slash: .254/.307/.400

Team ERA: 3.74

Runs per game:  3.14


Matt den Dekker, OF: .444 AVG/ 2 HR/ 1.418 OPS

Even though he hasn’t had many opportunities to play, den Dekker has made a good case for himself recently to stick around next year as an option off the bench. One thing that helps him is that he’s shown a bit more power than his 6-1, 209 pound frame would suggest; his monster shot to centerfield Sunday afternoon that was measured at 449 feet. In his career, den Dekker has just six homers, but five of them have been hit this season with the Nationals.

Ian Desmond, SS: .348 AVG/ .375 OBP/ .522 SLG 

The soon-to-be free agent shortstop is trying to close out his tenure with the Nationals on an upswing, despite what’s undoubtedly been a disappointing season. He posted solid numbers on his final home stand, and was treated to a well-deserved curtain call Sunday as Matt Williams substituted him in the top of the ninth inning. The ovation he received was one of the best moments of the year, even if it was quickly overshadowed by one the worst.


Jonathan Papelbon, RP:  2.2 IP/ 5 R/ 1.88 WHIP 

It’s hard for a player’s stock to plummet further and as quickly as Papelbon’s has in just one week. But when you’re involved with in altercations in five days — one with Orioles third baseman Manny Machado and the other with teammate Bryce Harper — things can change drastically. The image of the 34-year-old closer putting his hand around Harper’s neck will resonate with Nats fans well into the offseason, as Sunday’s incident was unquestionably the ugliest moment of this already-disappointing season. As Mark Zuckerman eloquently pointed out, the fracas was more than just an isolated incident; it was a snapshot of all that’s gone wrong for this club in 2015. Mike Rizzo believed that by trading for Papelbon and sliding Drew Storen to the setup role, he found solutions for both the eighth and ninth inning in one move. Instead, Storen’s season spiraled out of control while Papelbon didn’t exactly show that he’s the dominant closer the Nats thought they were getting. He allowed runs in seven of his 22 appearances since the trade, and was charged with two blown saves and two losses. For him to then attack the presumptive NL MVP in the dugout for appearing to not run out a fly ball makes you wonder if that’s the last time we’ll see Papelbon in a Nats uniform.

Jordan Zimmermann, SP: 0-1/ 5.0 IP/ 6 ER 

Of course, the bullpen’s shortcomings aren’t the only reason why the Nats aren’t going to the playoffs. The starting rotation that was hailed as the best in baseball has vastly underperformed, and Zimmermann is very much apart of that group. His season numbers (13-9, 3.68 ERA) aren’t that bad, but he just hasn’t been as consistent as he was from 2011-2014. His WHIP of 1.21 is his highest since 2010, and he’s allowed 24 home runs — the most he’s yielded in a single season.

  1. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2015 at 2:13 PM

    makes you wonder if want to donate money to ensure that’s the last time we’ll see Papelbon in a Nats uniform.

    There, I fixed it for you.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2015 at 2:14 PM

      Well, it would have fixed it if the strikeout text attribute were turned on.

    • Ellie - Sep 30, 2015 at 2:56 PM

      We should start a Gofundme campaign to try to raise the $11M it’ll cost to pay him to go away.

      • dryw4nats - Sep 30, 2015 at 3:11 PM

        You know there’s actually a thing on Twitter where people are telling the team how much they’d donate to the Nationals’ charity to get rid of him. I think that’s a really cool idea, but I’d pay directly to the Lerners, too, if I thought it would help….

      • natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2015 at 3:40 PM

        Just got around to reading a Bos chat where he made the point that the team spent about that much on two years of Nate McLouth and didn’t get a return on the investment, due to injury.

  2. saintpaddy - Sep 30, 2015 at 3:14 PM

    PAPEL-GONE! Closer cut from Nats roster!

    I cannot wait to read that headline.

    • ArVAFan - Sep 30, 2015 at 3:27 PM

      From your fingers to the baseball gods ears (and the Commish, and the Lerners, and anyone else who need to hear that!)

    • natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      Don’t toy with us.

      Seriously, I can’t wait to read it either.

  3. naterialguy - Sep 30, 2015 at 3:43 PM

    Suspended Nationals closer Papelbon pays $2.9 million for a D.C.-area home

    Not happy about this

    • natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2015 at 3:47 PM

      That headline should read “paid,” as according to the article, he did so on September 14, well before he, well, you know, throttled our MVP. Eh, he should be able to sell it in this market. 😉

      • NIWatcher - Sep 30, 2015 at 4:15 PM

        It says that he paid $2.9 million for a home with an assessed value of $1.5 million. Hmmm. Maybe not so easy to sell it.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2015 at 4:18 PM

        In any case, it’s his problem, not the team’s.

    • janebeard - Sep 30, 2015 at 5:18 PM

      He bought it right next to the son of the people who have the seats right in front of us. Walked in off the street, though the house wasn’t for sale, offered to buy it outright. The people moved. Kinda like what he did with “his” number taken away from Fister. And the locker taken away from I forget whom. May this rash purchase teach him he can’t just grandstand his way around the world. But it won’t. He’s THIS old and hasn’t gotten it yet. The good news is, they’ve not been there that long. Maybe they haven’t spent a ton on redecorating yet. Maybe the old people will want it back. Fine with me if he loses a mint.

  4. janebeard - Sep 30, 2015 at 5:19 PM

    I think Papelbon was the low moment n Franchise HISTORY.

    In the DC Sports Bog live chat today, they said they believe Pap will stay, because there’s no one else to get. I sure hope they are proven wrong.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2015 at 6:14 PM

      In the Bos chat earlier in the week, he said he thought Pap should go, though he didn’t exactly make a prediction. I trust his judgment on the matter more than I do that of the Sports Bog guys.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

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