Blue Jays Rumors: Jonathan Papelbon campaigning for trade to Toronto


With Francisco Rodriguez having now signed with the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto seemingly out on any available bullpen arms on the free agent market, the Blue Jays appear ready to head into the season with the relief arms it has. However, that hasn’t stopped Jonathan Papelbon from pulling up in the campaign train and lobbying for a trade to the Blue Jays.

According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia, the erstwhile Phillies closer continues to make it known that he’s looking to pitch for a contender and that he feels the Blue Jays would be a good pick.

"“Yes, Toronto, interests me — if it interests Ruben. I know some of the guys on their coaching staff. They’re a good team. If Ruben can do a deal with them, I’d be interested.” – Jonathan Papelbon (h/t Jim Salisbury)"

And there’s the rub of it. Ruben Amaro has gained quite the reputation as a shrewd negotiator, only looking for top value for his available players and unwilling to take on much in the name of salary to get a deal done. That has turned off many teams, and would certainly turn off the Blue Jays, who wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice a ton in the name of minor league prospects for a relief arm and aren’t looking to add much salary at this point in the winter.

Given that Papelbon is due $13 million in 2015 and has a vesting option for 2016 worth another $13 million, and option that is set to trigger if he finishes 48 games, that would be a tough one to swallow. Add in the likelihood that Philly would require some top talent in return, and it becomes a non-starter to begin with.

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At 34-years-old, Papelbon remains a top-tier closer, posting a 2.04 ERA, a 2.53 FIP, and a 8.5 K/9 rate while saving 39 games in 2014. Additonally, he’s pitched well at Rogers Centre over the course of his career, saving 12 games and registering a miniscule 1.40 ERA and only surrendering 1 home run in 25.2 innings of work in Toronto.

Still, it remains doubtful that the Blue Jays would swing a trade for Papelbon at this point in the winter. The injury to outfielder Michael Saunders on Thursday makes the cash-strapped Blue Jays that much tighter in the wallet and likely means the allocation of funds would be better used elsewhere.

So campaign away Mr. Papelbon, but you’ll likely be throwing most of your pitches in the City of Brotherly Love this summer.

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