The Jonathan Papelbon rumors kicked into high gear Friday morning. Less than 24 hours after Papelbon closed out the Phillies’ first win since June 7 on nine pitches, all for strikes, Ken Rosenthal reported there was a “heavy scouting presence” on hand Thursday. And other teams are inquiring about Papelbon beyond the Blue Jays and Cubs.
The Phillies, according to reports, would like to trade Papelbon sooner rather than later. The Phillies continue to scout the Cubs at the Major and minor league levels. Papelbon recently said he would be very interested in a trade to the Cubs, one of the teams that is not believed to be on his no-trade list.
According to Jon Heyman, Papelbon’s first choice is the Cubs. Papelbon is looking to pitch for a contender and he has a history with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jon Lester.
The Cubs have reportedly talked to the Phillies about Jonathan Papelbon. But the Phillies appear to be focused on trading Papelbon to the Blue Jays.
A report from Jim Salisbury does not mention another team, other than the Blue Jays, as a possible destination for Papelbon. Salisbury explained the two teams have been discussing a Papelbon deal since last winter. And while Toronto is reportedly on Papelbon’s no trade list, it is believed he will waive his no trade rights and approve a deal to the Jays. Papelbon is tired of losing and admitted again Thursday this season has been tough on him.
Salisbury explained the Phillies and Blue Jays have not been able to agree on which player the Jays should send to Philadelphia for Papelbon. Salisbury described that part of the negotiations as “significant hurdles.”
Ruben Amaro Jr. asked Alex Anthopoulos for LHP Daniel Norris, according to Nick Cafardo, and that is where the talks may have broken down. Anthopoulos is also interested in Oakland’s Tyler Clippard.
As Aaron Gleeman pointed out, Papelbon has pitched “like an elite reliever” this season.
Jonathan Papelbon has given up 19 hits with seven walks and 31 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings over 26 outings (1.01 ERA, 0.98 WHIP). Papelbon is 13-for-13 in the all-important save category. Papelbon averaged 94.1 mph on his fastball during Thursday’s appearance according to Ken Rosenthal.
The addition of Rafael Soriano to the organization and the recent performance of the bullpen is not expected to keep Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer from pursuing relievers, especially veteran bullpen arms that have pitched at the end of games for a contending team.
While the front office is reportedly calling around looking for a starting pitcher, the Cubs are not believed to be done searching for ways to bolster the entire pitching staff.