As previously reported, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are exploring ways to improve the Cubs bullpen. The Cubs are interested in trading for RHP Jonathan Papelbon. And according to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies recently engaged in talks with the Cubs and Blue Jays for Jonathan Papelbon.
Jonathan Papelbon has been on the Cubs’ radar for at least a month. There were internal discussions about Papelbon in the middle of May when it was obvious to the front office that Joe Maddon needed another reliever or two in order to keep winning games.
Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday the Phillies “are ready to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon.” Ruben Amaro Jr. is also willing to “pay a significant portion of his contract” in order to improve the return.
Rosenthal explained the Cubs and Blue Jays are both interested in Papelbon and recently engaged in discussions for the veteran closer. Rosenthal’s sources indicated “no deal with either team appears close” and one source pointed to the discussions being at an impasse.
The Phillies willingness to include “a large percentage of Papelbon’s remaining money” is to improve the quality and quantity of prospects they receive for him. Rosenthal said the Cubs and Blue Jays “want to play as little as possible in both dollars and players.”
Ruben Amaro Jr. might prefer to trade Papelbon to the Blue Jays according to Rosenthal. The Phillies “have increased their scouting of the Jays’ minor league affiliates” in order to determine which players they would like in return for Papelbon. The Phillies and Jays most recent talks over Papelbon were last week.
Rosenthal reported that it is believed Papelbon would not block a trade to Toronto based on the comments he made about the Blue Jays in Spring Training. Toronto is on Papelbon’s no-trade list, the Cubs are not. Papelbon cannot block a deal to the Cubs.
Based on previous reports, the Phillies have scouted the Cubs organization pretty extensively at least since last summer when the Cubs claimed Cole Hamels off waivers.
Rosenthal explained the Cubs are still in the mix for Papelbon even with signing RHP Rafael Soriano to a minor league contract this week. The Cubs “signed Soriano in part because they did not want to get left without him or Papelbon.”
Jonathan Papelbon is owed more than $8 million for the remainder of this season. And he has a vesting option worth $13 million that becomes guaranteed if he finishes 55 games this season or a combined 100 games in 2014-15. Papelbon has finished 22 games this season and a combined 74 games the past two years (2014-15).
The front office obviously knows Jonathan Papelbon extremely well. And it is not believed to be an issue for Epstein and Hoyer as the Cubs pursue a trade for him. With Joe Maddon in charge, adding a personality like Jonathan Papelbon should not be a problem.
Based on recent trades for bullpen arms and closers as was recently examined, it might take more for the Cubs to acquire Jonathan Papelbon in terms of prospect currency than the front office is willing to part with right now.
At least the Cubs see there are areas that need to be addressed and are exploring ways to improve the roster … a welcomed change from the last six years.
- Full Report from Ken Rosenthal
- Full Report – Player Acquisition Cost: RHP Jonathan Papelbon
- Full Report – Cubs Reportedly Interested in RHP Jonathan Papelbon