The Phillies are finally seeing renewed interest in closer and franchise saves leader Jonathan Papelbon. Trade season is here, hallelujah. So sayeth Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, who opens his piece thusly:
The Philadelphia Phillies are ready to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon. They are willing to pay a significant portion of his contract. The only question is how the story ends.
That *is* the only question. About everything. And the answer is death. But in this case, the end to the story is not the eventual demise of everyone and everything ever, it's where Papelbon will end up. And after years of him still being on the Phillies for some reason, Rosenthal is reporting that there's a chance he may not be on the Phillies forever.
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.
I didn't say it was a big chance, I said it was a chance. But it doesn't matter if the talks aren't close and aren't getting any closer. Trade talk is/was happening! The impasse apparently stems from this: like most teams, the Phillies are willing to pay more money for better players; and like every team ever in the history of sports teams, the Cubs and Jays want to acquire Papelbon for a little as humanly possible.
Even though talks are at an impasse, it appears that trade-related things are still happening.
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.
While Rosenthal doesn't mention anything about the Phillies scouting the Cubs' minor league system, he says that they're still interested in Papelbon despite signing Rafael Soriano to a minor league contract just days ago. If anyone knows Jonathan Papelbon, it's current Cubs executives and former Red Sox bigwigs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. They already *know* he's kind of an ass! (Or, as Rosenthal puts it, "occasionally brash and outspoken.") I bet they'd be more likely to take him than anyone! Plus, Pap and Joe Maddon together is a buddy comedy waiting to happen. They're already on the road, they could be the new Bing Crosby and Bob Hope! Of baseball! Unfortunately, the Phillies may not see it my way.
The sense among some in the industry, though, is that the Phillies would prefer to deal with the Blue Jays - perhaps because the Jays would offer better terms, perhaps because the Phillies want Papelbon out of the National League.
I don't actually care where Jonathan Papelbon goes. I just care that he goes. Any team is fine, literally any team anywhere. The Phillies have got to pull the trigger on this. No more waiting for a better deal. He has to be traded. The time is now, Phillies! Seize the moment! Pick your prospects, shovel some money into a truck, stick Papelbon in the driver's seat, and MAKE THIS HAPPEN!