According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, there is a decent amount of interest in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. Salisbury mentions the Blue Jays as a possible suitor, while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports implied that the Cubs have had recent interest.
Papelbon’s contract remains an issue. He is owed the remainder of $13 million for this season and is just 26 games finished away from having his deal guaranteed for $13 million next season. He could make guaranteeing that $13 million up front a requirement for accepting a deal. The Phillies have long made it clear that they would eat salary to facilitate trades, provided they get value in return.
If the problem has been the money, I’m still not sure why the Phillies wouldn’t eat 90 percent of the remainder of the deal just to get him to a contender, while grabbing a prospect or two? The money is not an issue. Apparently, though, the Jays and Cubs are playing hardball.
The Phils have engaged in recent trade discussions with both Blue Jays and Cubs about Papelbon, according to major-league sources. No deal with either club appears close; the talks are at an “impasse,” one source said.
Papelbon, 34, is guaranteed more than $8 million for the rest of this season, and his $13 million option for next season will vest if he finishes 26 more games; he has finished 22 thus far.
The trade talks hinge on a sliding scale. The Phillies are willing to pay a large percentage of Papelbon’s remaining money to land better prospects. The Jays and Cubs want to pay as little as possible in both dollars and players.
Here, according to sources, is where the conversations stand:
The most recent talks between the Phillies and Jays were late last week. Since then, the Phils have increased their scouting of the Jays’ minor-league affiliates, trying to identify players they might want in a trade.
Papelbon has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block a deal to the Blue Jays, but the Jays do not believe that would be an issue.
So there you have it. Mutual interest, talks building, but at an impasse currently. At least there is dialogue. The Phillies must move on from these expensive vets before they lose any more value in the process.