Jonathan Papelbon isn’t closing the door on a potential return to the American League East.
Papelbon, who spent his first seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox, told CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury on Thursday he’d be interested in a trade to the Toronto Blue Jays if the Philadelphia Phillies decide to deal the closer, as many have speculated.
“Yes, Toronto, interests me — if it interests (Phillies general manager) Ruben (Amaro Jr.),” Papelbon said. “I know some of the guys on their coaching staff. They’re a good team. If Ruben can do a deal with them, I’d be interested.”
Papelbon is set to make $13 million this season and has a $13 million vesting option for 2016. It’s a steep price for a closer — even one with a proven track record — and Papelbon isn’t sure whether he’d require that his 2016 option be exercised as part of a trade to Toronto.
“I can’t say,” Papelbon told Salisbury. “I’d have to discuss it with my agent.”
Papelbon has been the subject of trade rumors for quite some time despite being fairly reliable during his tenure in Philadelphia. The trade chatter has kicked up a notch this offseason, though, as the Phillies are rebuilding on the heels of a disappointing 2014.
Papelbon, who saved 39 games last season while posting a 2.04 ERA, is entering his 11th major league campaign. The 34-year-old has five All-Star selections to his credit, and a trade to the Blue Jays would give him a better chance to pursue his elusive second World Series ring.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images