Jonathan Papelbon finished the season as a free agent after he was released by the Washington Nationals on August 13 upon his request. The latest MLB rumors suggest that his former team, the Boston Red Sox, might pursue him this offseason.
According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, one of the Red Sox’s main priorities this winter is to improve their bullpen depth behind closer Craig Kimbrel. Relievers Brad Ziegler, Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa are all eligible for free agency and Boston will need to find suitable replacements.
When the Nationals released Jonathan Papelbon in August, the Red Sox were linked to him but no deal came to fruition. However, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe noted that Boston could re-consider signing their former closer this offseason.
“The Red Sox were interested in Papelbon during the season, so there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t be interested again this offseason,” Cafardo wrote.
“The Red Sox will be looking for an experienced reliever for a setup role. Papelbon could be looking for a closer stint, but that may not be available to him. His only remaining former Red Sox teammate is Dustin Pedroia, who remains a close friend,” he added.
Jonathan Papelbon was drafted by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2003 MLB draft and he spent two years in the minor leagues. He made his major league debut in 2005 as a starter before being the team’s full-time closer the next year.
The six-time All-Star helped Boston win the World Series in 2007 before leaving via free agency in the winter of 2011. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and spent three and a half seasons there before getting traded to the Washington Nationals in 2015.
In his 12 seasons in the MLB, Jonathan Papelbon has a total of 368 saves and he is currently ninth in the all-time career saves. It should be noted that the Red Sox’s interest in Papelbon are just rumors at the moment and nothing has been confirmed.
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