While trade talks involving Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon and the Milwaukee Brewers have hit a snag, the Blue Jays are now emerging as another potential candidate to make a deal for the 34-year-old.
According to reporter Todd Zolecki, talks regarding Papelbon are “still alive, although the seriousness of those discussions is unclear.”
The Blue Jays, like the Brewers, could use an accomplished closer like Papelbon to help solidify the back-end of their bullpen. Last season, the Jays ranked 25th in MLB with a bullpen ERA of 4.09. The leader in saves for the Jays was right-hander Casey Janssen, who recorded 25 saves with a 3.94 ERA.
For this upcoming season, the Jays have reliever Brett Cecil, who has only six career saves, penciled in as their closer.
Acquiring Papelbon would be an upgrade for their bullpen, and help keep Cecil in a more familiar role. However, the Phillies would need to eat some of Papelbon’s salary in order to make a deal happen.
Papelbon is coming off a stellar year in which he converted 39 of 43 saves, and posted a 2.04 ERA. Although his velocity could be an issue, a closer as experienced as Papelbon would be a welcomed addition for a Blue Jays team trying to contend for a division title in the AL East.