First, Rob Bradford reports (and Jerry Crasnick reports) that Papelbon’s decision on his next team is expected within the next 24 hours (set your watch!). There is “strong interest” from multiple clubs, and Crasnick does note the speculation out there involving the Cubs and Red Sox. Otherwise, there’s no indication which teams are actually involved at this point. The Cubs, it would seem, are far from the only team that could look to bolster its bullpen with a flyer, so let’s not start assuming this is solely a Cubs thing.
To that end, Joe Maddon just told reporters that, if there’s something cooking with Papelbon, he’s not heard about it:
Maddon says Papelbon's name hasn't come up during his conversations with #Cubs front office.
— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) August 16, 2016
Maddon on Papelbon. "The guys have not discussed it with me. I'm not saying it can't happen. But for right now there is nothing happening."
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) August 16, 2016
Maddon said no one had talked to him about Jonathan Papelbon He also said anything could happen.He didn't totally discount the notion
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) August 16, 2016
To be sure, none of that rules out the possibility that the Cubs are considering Papelbon, but it’s a fair bet that the front office would check in with Maddon before actually inking a deal. It’s possible that check-in is still forthcoming, or it’s possible that some particularities about a prospective deal for Papelbon would make it unnecessary for the front office to talk to Maddon.
Or, of course, there’s also the simple possibility that the front office is not considering adding Papelbon at this time.
Either way, sounds like we should find out soon enough.