While the Brewers remain in the conversation for veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon, teams seeking closing help have reportedly checked in on his availability. Philadelphia still has the desire to move him, and according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Toronto has "limited interest" and would consider Papelbon if the financial risk was limited.
Papelbon, 34, posted a 2.04 ERA and 2.53 FIP in 66.1 innings pitched with the Phillies in 2014. The Phillies are in rebuilding mode, and have been actively trying to trade Papelbon this offseason. However, the veteran reliever is reportedly not drawing a notable amount of interest. He saved 39 contests in last season, ten more than he closed in 2013.
Teams seeking closers lost an option on Wednesday afternoon, as Casey Janssen agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with the Washington Nationals. Janssen had been considered an option for Milwaukee if the Brewers are unable to add Papelbon. Rafael Soriano, 35, and Francisco Rodriguez, 33, are the lone remaining free agent closers, increasing the chances of Papelbon being dealt.
Although over the weekend talks between the Brewers and Phillies were considered to be "on life support," Milwaukee remains in the mix, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel still believes that adding Papelbon would be ideal for the Brewers, but notes that if a deal cannot get done, Rodriguez would be a realistic option.
While the Blue Jays are also interested in adding Papelbon, the club has similar concerns with regard to his financial status. Toronto's true interest depends on how much of Papelbon's remaining salary the Phillies are willing to pick up.
Papelbon is guaranteed $13 million for 2015 and a $13 million option in 2016 if he finishes, not saves, 48 games, according to Corey Seidman of CSN Philadelphia. He can block trades to Toronto, Milwaukee, and 16 other teams, and as a result, would have to be open to the idea of a trade.
Rosenthal also notes that Papelbon would likely ask any team on his no-trade list to guarantee the option before approving a potential deal. The Phillies could wait until the summer to trade Papelbon, however the organization is willing to deal him now if they feel their financial contribution will be reasonable.