Jonathan Papelbon did not hold back with his remarks about the Phillies and more specifically the front office during media day at the All-Star Game on Monday. Papelbon would like to be traded and is willing to tell those that are willing to listen how much he would like to close games for a contending team.
Papelbon pitched Friday night for the first time since July 7 in a rare win for the Phillies. Papelbon gave up a run on two hits in a 6-3 victory over the Marlins. Papelbon has allowed one run on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts over his last four games (1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP).
Despite not pitching in the game, Papelbon earned his trip to Cincinnati. The 34-year old closer is 1-1 in 33 games with a 1.82 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 3.12 FIP this season. In 34 2/3 innings, Papelbon has allowed nine runs, seven earned, on 28 hits with seven walks and 35 strikeouts. And he is 14-for-14 in save opportunities.
Buster Olney reported Saturday morning that “some executives believe” the Phillies are pushing to finish a deal for Jonathan Papelbon while “working through trade discussions with multiple teams.”
The Cubs and Blue Jays have been constantly linked to Papelbon and while other teams have reportedly scouted him, the interest beyond the Cubs and Jays is unknown at this point.
The Cubs are thought to be at the top of the list of teams Jonathan Papelbon would like to be traded to prior to the deadline. And Papelbon recently told Comcast SportsNet the Cubs would be a great landing spot for him.
One of the issues with dealing Papelbon is his contract. Papelbon is still owed around $5 million for his season and he is within finishing 18 games of the $13 million option for next season becoming guaranteed. The Phillies would have to kick in some cash in order to improve their return.
The trade deadline is less than two weeks away. The Cubs have holes to fill. But it is unknown how much the front office is willing to alter The Plan for this season. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been consistent publicly that any deals would preferably help the big league team in the short and long-term.
“If you look at the history of teams that go on and play in the World Series, very rarely is it because of a deadline deal,” Theo Epstein said.
“We know what we’d like to do, but we’re realistic about what we may be able to do.”