Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said recently that Jonathan Papelbon is not on the trade market. That hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from turning.
The Phillies are talking to the Red Sox and Tigers about Papelbon, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.
Papelbon, despite some recent struggles, is one of the best closers in baseball, so, as the Phillies fight to remain in contention, there has been plenty of speculation about whether or not they’ll consider dealing the high-priced reliever as part of a rebuilding process.
“They’re talking to Boston and Detroit [about Papelbon] right now,” an executive of one team said, according to Stark. “They may not say they are, but I know they are.”
The Red Sox and Tigers could both use Papelbon. The Red Sox recently removed Andrew Bailey from their closer role, while the Tigers have struggled all season to find a stable ninth-inning option. It’s unclear what Philadelphia’s asking price would be in exchange for Papelbon, but one executive reportedly told Stark that Detroit could come knocking with the right package.
“Don’t be surprised if you see Papelbon end up in Detroit,” an executive reportedly said. “If the Tigers have a chance to get the closer they need, they won’t let [a big asking price] stand in the way. So if you’re Ruben, how can you not do that if the Tigers step up the way I think they’re about to step up?”
Papelbon is owed $26 million over the next two seasons. He also has a $13 million vesting option for 2016.