The Phillies have done a lot of stupid things in the recent past, but I don't feel like enough attention has been paid to the no-trade clauses and option years they've included in their contracts. Why? Well, you're about to find out.
Jonathan Papelbon won't waive his no-trade clause unless he's the closer. So he wants to go where there's winning, but apparently winning only counts if he's the closer. I guess he doesn't want to win that badly if his enormous planet-sized ego won't let him pitch any other inning but the ninth.
Thankfully, Papelbon's NTC covers only eight teams. (One of those teams is the Red Sox and they're not looking for Papelbon's help this season.) So the Phillies could send Papelbon off to any of the 22 remaining teams and there he could be the closer or the bat boy or the beer vendor in section 422 and he couldn't do anything about it. But of course, teams have to want him (or need him, since wanting Papelbon is something you should seek medical help for), and the Phillies have to be willing to eat some money. Pap's two most likely closer-starved destinations are already out of the running, as the Angels and the Tigers have found closing help. And the Phillies have to be willing to eat a significant chunk of the $13m he's owed for 2015, the $13m he'll probably be owed in 2016 when he triggers his player option (55 games finished in 2015, or 100 in 2014-2015 combined), AND the rest of the $13m he's owed for this year.
I hope the Phillies are hungry.
Over in the outfield, Marlon Byrd is busy setting the conditions for his possible trade.
This isn't quite *as* bad as the Papelbon no-trade/option stuff from above, but it's not great. The Phillies are (were) talking about trading Byrd to two of the four teams listed in his no-trade clause, which strikes me as a bad sign. And the only way he'll go to Seattle is if the Mariners pick up his 2016 player option. Byrd is owed the remainder of his $8m for this year, then $8m for 2015, and possibly another $8m for 2016. Here's his 2016 option, straight from Cot's Contracts:
2016 option guaranteed with 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,100 PAs in 2014-15, including 550 PAs in 2015
I hope they want him badly enough, because I'm starting to get worried that the Phillies aren't going to deal anyone. Or they're only going to deal the one player I desperately want them to keep. (More on that in a moment...)
Papelbon and Byrd are doing what they're supposed to do -- they're using the various features of their contracts to make sure they get the best deal for themselves in a situation where they don't have a lot of control. But it's making it hard for the Phillies, the team that gave them those extra contract goodies, to trade them. So good going, Phillies.
And finally, I've been told by Trev that I really need to include this, even though I'd like to ignore it and pretend it isn't happening.
DON'T TAKE AWAY MY COLE HAMELS WHY GOD WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO MEEEEEE /weeps
This is where Liz the Fan and Liz the Sane Person really have a problem staying out of each other's business. The fan in me reeeeeeeally hates this, with all my heart and soul. I absolutely believe that Cole Hamels is the type of player you build a franchise around, and the Phillies should absolutely do that. But Liz the Sane Person knows that Hamels is young, hugely talented, and attractive to other teams. So his asking price is high even though he's owed a lot of money, and rightly so. If a team wants Hamels, I hope they're ready to send the Phillies the next Mike Trout and the next Jose Fernandez, because I won't accept anything less. That's probably why I'm not in charge, though.
Stay tuned, gang.