Jonathan Papelbon, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
May 18, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (58) delivers a pitch during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Philies won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
While the starting rotation could use some work, the upgrades needed in the bullpen are more obvious. The best relief pitcher expected to be available before the trade deadline is the Philadelphia Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon.
Papelbon got his start under Epstein with the Boston Red Sox. He has been one of the most dominating closers in the game over the past ten years, and his 1.50 ERA and 11-for-11 in save opportunities this season proves that he still has it. The Phillies are a team going nowhere this season, and have shown a ton of interest in moving Papelbon.
He does come with roughly $10 million owed to him for the rest of the season, and a $13 million option for next year. The option is automatically picked up if Papelbon finishes 55 games this season, and he has already finished 17. With his steep contract, and the Phillies being obvious contenders, the Cubs may be able to pick up Papelbon for fairly cheap. Regardless, he is a great fit for the team right now.
It would be interesting to see how the Cubs used Papelbon if they were to acquire him. Rondon has nasty stuff, and while he has been inconsistent this season, it has not been bad enough to warrant losing his job. Also, with the $13 million option, the Cubs may be better off using Papelbon in a set-up role so his option does not automatically kick in.
No matter how they use him, Papelbon would tremendously solidify the Cubs’ bullpen. He is one of the best relief pitchers in the game, and would be a fantastic addition by Epstein and the Cubs.
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