Why Doug Fister?
After two seasons with Jonathan Papelbon as their closer, the Philadelphia Phillies are trying to trade him.
The 33-year-old is on the trade block according to FoxSports with eight consecutive years of 29 saves or more under his belt. He's also scheduled to make $13 million each of the next two seasons with a vesting option for 2016 when he'll be 35. That explains their intentions.
The Phillies have six different players over the age of 30 set to make at least $11 million in 2014, with Cole Hamels the only one younger than 33 in the group. If Philly was to get rid of one of those players, it would be Papelbon.
At this point no one is going to take on Ryan Howard's contract and Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins would be tough to deal as well. Cliff Lee will make $25 million next season, but he's an important part of their hopes to make a postseason return.
Papelbon has performed about as well as Philly could have expected when they signed him before the 2012 season. With the Phillies he's held a 2.67 ERA in 131 games with 67 total saves. He is consistent, durable and appears to have at least a few more years left. He still has value and the Phillies hope to capitalize on it.
The Phillies could also probably get the same production for a lower cost. They may not have an obvious replacement in their organization at the moment, but closers are always available for a bargain. You just have to do your due diligence to find them.
Look at the Red Sox last season who won a World Series with Koji Uehara as their ninth inning guy. He entered 2013 with 14 career saves before earning 21 of them during the regular season and another eight in the playoffs. He was a shutdown closer all of a sudden and he had little experience doing the job before.
The year prior the Giants won a ring with Sergio Romo, he had just three saves to his name before taking over due to a Brian Wilson injury in 2012. And in 2011 the Cardinals captured a title with Jason Motte as their closer. He also had three saves in his career before that year.
The Phillies would be wise to get something for Papelbon and go cheaper at the position, but now it's up to Ruben Amaro, Jr. to find the right deal.