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NL Central Notes: Cubs could pursue Papelbon, Iglesias eyeing Reds closer role

The latest from around the NL Central.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington released reliever Jonathan Papelbon on Saturday afternoon, and the Cubs could be among the teams interested in signing him, according to CBS’ Bruce Levine.

Chicago’s front office, which features Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, are familiar with Papelbon from their time with the Red Sox. Although the Cubs boasted an 11 game winning streak entering Saturday, they continue to have issues in the back end of their bullpen.

Pedro Strop is sidelined with a torn meniscus, Carl Edwards Jr. has been inconsistent and Hector Rondon is also out with an injury.

Joe Smith hasn’t pitched well since joining the Cubs the day of the non-waiver trade deadline, and as a result, Chicago could consider adding Papelbon to their bullpen.

More from around the National League Central:

  • St. Louis hasn’t had a strong second half, and as a result, the Cardinals might be in a position to fire Mike Matheny.

  • The Pirates have a decision to make with regard to Jung Ho Kang, who has started only 13 of 24 games since the All-Star break.

  • While a reunion with Carlos Gomez might seem ideal, there isn’t any room for Gomez in Milwaukee’s outfield.

  • Raisel Iglesias wants to be Cincinnati’s closer and he is making it very clear.

  • Pedro Strop will be out for four to six weeks, which is good news considering it could have been much worse.

Standings ‘as of writing’:

Cubs 73-42 —GB

Cardinals 61-56 13.0 GB

Pirates 58-56 14.5 GB

Brewers 51-64 22.0

Reds 48-67 25.0 GB