As baseball approaches the All-Star break, the Cubs are reportedly looking for at least one starting pitcher, a reliever and a bat. One of the bullpen arms the Cubs have been heavily connected to by the mainstream media is Jonathan Papelbon. And he was reportedly pulled back last month when it appeared the Phillies were close to trading him.
According to Jayson Stark, teams thought the Phillies were close to dealing Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies talked to the Cubs, Blue Jays, Rangers and one of the Los Angeles teams according to Stark about Papelbon. Stark reported the “feeling in the industry is that the decision to pull back on Papelbon came from above Ruben Amaro Jr. from Pat Gillick or Andy MacPhail, or both.”
Jonathan Papelbon told Todd Zolecki earlier this week he is ready to be traded. Zolecki reported that Papelbon could be making one of his final appearances in a Phillies’ uniform in the All-Star Game. Papelbon is the Phillies’ lone representative in the Midsummer Classic.
Papelbon is 1-1 in 32 games this season with a 1.60 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 2.75 FIP. Papelbon is 14-for-14 in save opportunities and has given up 26 hits with seven walks and 35 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings. Papelbon has finished 29 games this season and is as little as 19 games away from his $13 million option for 2016 vesting and becoming guaranteed. The $13 million option becomes guaranteed if Papelbon finishes 55 games this season (2015) or finishes 100 games combined in 2014-15. Papelbon finished 52 games last season (81 total games finished between 2014 and 2015).
Jonathan Papelbon is owed the remainder of his $13 million salary for this season and once the option vests he will be paid $13 million in 2016. Reports before Andy MacPhail took over indicated the Phillies were willing to include around $8 million in a deal for Papelbon to help improve the return.
Papelbon said he would be surprised and disappointed if he is still with the Phillies after the July 31 trade deadline.
The veteran closer has a clause in his contract in which he can block deals to 17 teams. But Papelbon said this week his no-trade clause will not be an issue. Papelbon told Todd Zolecki, “Any team that wants me I’m willing to go to. I just think for me there are no closed doors right now.” The only reason Papelbon would block a trade is if the team interested in acquiring him would like for him to be a setup man and not a closer.
The Cubs are not on Papelbon’s no-trade list.
Jonathan Papelbon wants to be dealt to a contender and he would reportedly welcome a trade to the Cubs. Reports have even suggested the Cubs are at the top of his list of destinations. Papelbon said the “ball is in the Phillies’ court” and the front office knows where his heart is. Papelbon has not talked to new Phillies’ boss, Andy MacPhail yet, and he would like to be given the opportunity to do so.
When the Cubs signed RHP Rafael Soriano it was reported the Cubs were still interested in trading for Jonathan Papelbon. It does not appear the Cubs interest in Papelbon has changed but with injuries to the starting rotation, the priority for the front office may have shifted.