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Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo: Jonathan Papelbon filing grievance is business, not personal

When he met with reporters this afternoon at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee's Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo discussed the grievance Nats' reliever Jonathan Papelbon filed against the team.

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In the immediate aftermath of his dugout altercation with Bryce Harper, veteran Washington Nationals' closer Jonathan Papelbon was asked by reporters if he thought there would be further actions taken against him for his role in the dispute which was captured on camera during the late-season game?

"No, I don't," the now-35-year-old closer said then. "We'll handle it all in-house, but that's something that's going to stay within the team and not you guys."

"You could see by the type of discipline that we placed on both players which was weighed the most and we thought they were both equal and equitable ways to handle the situation." -Mike Rizzo on Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper's altercation

A day later, now-former Nationals' skipper Matt Williams and Nats' GM Mike Rizzo announced that Papelbon had been suspended for four games without pay for his role in the incident.

Papelbon also dropped his appeal of a three-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball after he threw at/near Baltimore Orioles' infielder Manny Machado's head a few days earlier, effectively ending his season.

Rizzo explained then that the veteran closer was not happy with the decision.

"He was upset with the suspension," Rizzo said, "and we discussed about the nature of the incident and how I felt that it was an unacceptable way to handle yourself as a Washington National. We parted amicably and I left it with we will see him shortly after the season."


Papelbon didn't comment publicly on the suspension, but according to a report last night from WEEI's Rob Bradford, he did file a grievance against the Nationals over the "without pay" part of the punishment, which his representatives reportedly said was without precedent.

"According to multiple major league sources," Bradford wrote, "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."'s Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter this afternoon that Papelbon filed the grievance shortly after the suspension was handed down:

Rizzo said then that he wasn't concerned with the Players' Association's reaction to the suspension.

"My job isn't to dole out discipline with regards to what the Players' Association is going to do," he explained.

"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."

When he met with reporters this afternoon at the 2015 Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee's Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Rizzo addressed the situation, explaining that Papelbon did, in fact file the grievance days after the suspension was handed down.

Rizzo also, apparently, said that he understood it was business and not personal:

Rizzo also said he was comfortable keeping Papelbon, and Drew Storen, who was unseated as the Nats' closer when Papelbon was acquired, in the bullpen in 2016, though multiple reports this winter have said the Nationals are interested and willing to trade both relievers.