When Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo spoke to reporters after announcing that Jonathan Papelbon had been suspended for four games following his dugout altercation with teammate, Bryce Harper, a reporter wondered if the General Manager cleared the suspension (without pay) with the MLB Players' Association?
"In order to suspend a player without pay, have you consulted with the union?" the reporter asked.
"Do you expect to hear from them -- a fight on that -- or have you cleared that and he's going to accept it without pay?"
"My job isn't to dole out discipline [with] regards to what the Players' Association is going to do," Rizzo responded.
"We felt it was important enough to make a statement that he was suspended for four games. What the Players' Association does with that information is up to them."
According to a report out of Boston tonight, from WEEI's Rob Bradford, Papelbon has filed a grievance over the Nationals' decision to withhold his pay for the games he was suspended.
Sources: Jonathan Papelbon files grievance against Nationals https://t.co/CvPzpGyjk7— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) December 7, 2015
"According to multiple major league sources," Bradford writes tonight, "the former Red Sox closer has filed a grievance against Washington for failing to pay his salary during the team-imposed four-game suspension at the conclusion of the 2015 season."
Argument of Papelbon's camp is there was no precedent for unpaid team suspension. True or not, it's another issue between Papelbon & Nats.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) December 7, 2015
Papelbon challenged Harper for not running out a pop fly late in the regular season and choked the now-23-year-old NL MVP when the heated discussion got physical.
Teammates and coaches separated the two players.
Acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies by the Nationals before the non-waiver trade deadline, Papelbon's season was effectively ended by the suspension over the dugout incident since he simultaneously dropped his appeal of a three-game suspension levied by Major League Baseball for throwing at/near Baltimore Orioles' infielder Manny Machado's head days earlier.
The 35-year-old reliever and the Nationals agreed to a reduction in the value of his 2016 option from $13M to $11M when they picked it up upon acquiring the closer, guaranteeing the option which was set to vest if he finished 55 games in 2005 or 100 total in 2014-15, which he eventually did.
The Nationals are reportedly considering trying to trade both Papelbon and Drew Storen this winter, after Storen is said to have requested a trade following the deal that guaranteed Papelbon the closer's role Storen had held to that point.
GM Mike Rizzo will reportedly address the situation when he meets with reporters at the Winter Meetings tomorrow:
#Nats say Rizzo is expected to address report of Papelbon's grievance tomorrow during daily meeting with reporters here at Winter Meetings.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) December 7, 2015