A brief mid-game rumor check-in, as Jayson Stark just tweeted something of note:
3 wks ago I'd have said Blue Jays, Cubs & Dodgers were most likely to trade for Jonathan Papelbon. Now there's nothing going w/ any of them
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 22, 2015
There was a time when the Cubs looked like a very plausible suitor for the 34-year-old closer, but that was before the Cubs’ bullpen righted things a bit, and before the Phillies’ demands on Papelbon may have come in quite high. When you factor in Papelbon’s very-possibly-vesting $13 million player option for 2016, plus the remainder of the $13 million he’s owed this year, the financial hit in taking on Papelbon is potentially significant. It’s unsurprising that teams would be reluctant to part with any prospects of consequence unless the Phillies would eat a ton of salary – maybe they’re not willing to do that.
Papelbon remains an excellent reliever, and very much on the block. We’ll see if things change by next week, but it’s possible the Phillies simply priced themselves out of the range the Cubs deemed reasonable, especially when their greater pitching focus is probably at the back of the rotation.
All that said, with Neil Ramirez scuffling in his return from the shoulder injury, with Rafael Soriano looking only so-so in his debut, I’m still not “out” on the idea of the Cubs picking up another reliever before the deadline. If the right opportunity presents itself, that is.