Jon Lester gives Cubs the thumbs-up to bring Jonathan Papelbon aboard

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
21 Comments

The Cubs have been rumored to have interest in free agent reliever Jonathan Papelbon. The Nationals released the right-hander on Saturday after he put up a disappointing 4.37 ERA in 35 innings of work, forcing them to trade for All-Star closer Mark Melancon.

Papelbon also has a sordid history of bad behavior, which includes throwing at Manny Machado‘s head and choking Bryce Harper in the Nationals’ dugout last year, as well as crotch-chopping in the direction of the home crowd in Philadelphia in 2014. Papelbon has also been known to watch pornography and play obnoxious politically-themed music in the clubhouse.

Nevertheless, Cubs starter Jon Lester, who was a teammate of Papelbon’s on the Red Sox from 2006-11, would be completely fine if his current team were to bring in the oft-troubled reliever, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports.

Lester said, “[Papelbon] is crazy. But he’s no crazier than the rest of us. He just gets a bad rap for what happened in the dugout. Knowing Papelbon, I’ve always had good things to say about him as a teammate, how he respects the game and how he goes about his business.”

Lester continued, “People are quick to jump to the conclusions based on one event. I think he’s a great teammate. Like I said, I don’t think he’s any crazier that the rest of us. I think he still has a lot to give.”