At any given moment the reported trade interest in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon is seemingly either non-existent or vast. Reality is probably somewhere in between, depending on how much Philadelphia is asking for in return and how much of his remaining contract general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is willing to eat.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com there was a “heavy scouting presence” to watch Papelbon’s appearance Thursday in which he recorded a nine-pitch save against the Orioles. Rosenthal also says there are “other teams inquiring” about Papelbon in addition to the Blue Jays and Cubs.
Papelbon has been incredible this season with a 1.01 ERA and 31/7 K/BB ratio in 27 innings, but because late leads are so few and far between for the Phillies his workload has been sporadic. He’s appeared in just 26 of the team’s 68 games, which is tied for the fifth-most appearances in the Phillies’ bullpen. And even within that nearly 40 percent of Papelbon’s work this season has come in low-leverage situations where manager Ryne Sandberg was just trying to get the closer some work after previously refusing to use him in more important non-save situations.
Papelbon has little use to the last-place Phillies and is still pitching like an elite reliever, so perhaps we’re finally nearing an actual trade after years of speculation.