The Nationals finally released ex-Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had lost his job after Washington acquired Mark Melancon (another ex-Red Sox closer) and hadn't pitched in a week.
Papelbon (2-4, 4.37 ERA, 19 saves, 1.46 WHIP in 35 innings), acquired by the Nats from the Phillies at the trade deadline last season, has been on shaky ground since his dugout fight with teammate Bryce Harper late last season.
“I think there’s been some rocky moments, but all in all he’s completed about 84 percent of his save chances he’s had here,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He does it his way. He was a guy that gave us everything he had every time out.”
Could a Red Sox reunion be in the offing for the 35-year-old reliever? He pitched for Boston from 2005-11, including closing out the 2007 World Series victory, before signing as a free agent in Philadelphia.
The Red Sox bullpen has struggled in recent weeks, but manager John Farrell said before the game Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Fenway Park that the Red Sox have not talked about Papelbon.
Would #RedSox be interested in Jonathan Papelbon, released today by Nationals? Farrell: "We haven't had any discussions on Jonathan."— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) August 13, 2016
Papelbon, who in the past has made no secret of his desire to return to Boston, requested his release from the Nats, rather than be designated for assignment, because he didn't want to wait the 10 days a DFA move requires before finding a new team.