Bryce Harper called Jonathan Papelbon to smooth things out
A microcosm for the Washington Nationals’ season and Jonathan Papelbon’s career occurred in late September when the fiery closer went after teammate Bryce Harper and choked the youngster (video here). Somehow Papelbon amazingly was allowed to continue pitching in the game, and somehow the Nationals have kept him on their roster. Why the Nats have kept Papelbon around is truly a mystery.
The Nats’ front office incompetence aside, Harper is trying to work out his relationship with Papelbon. To that end The Washington Post reports that he reached out to Pap with a phone call.
“Papelbon and Harper are fine together,” one person inside the Nationals told The Post. “Harp just wants to win. All he cares about is that we have a 45-save relief pitcher who’s going to help us.”
Harper may say the right things and may be acting like a leader by reaching out to Pap, but that’s probably not the best environment. Having a veteran around who will keep the young player accountable is a good thing, but it’s not if that player is also going to choke him. Once again, I can’t believe the Nats have plans to keep Papelbon around long term.