It sounds like Jonathan Papelbon’s 2016 season is over whether he likes it or not.
The recently-released reliever still hasn’t signed with a team despite interest, and one suitor, the Boston Red Sox, appear content to move on.
Team president Dave Dombrowski told reporters that Papelbon joining the Red Sox, apparently his lone suitor, was now a long shot.
“We had interest in him, and we expressed that to him,” Dombrowski said, via Rob Bradford of WEEI. “John Farrell spoke with Jonathan Papelbon, and I think a couple of our players spoke to him, too. For his own personal reasons, he’s just decided so far not to sign. I’m not sure if he’s going to sign or not. I know he has a lot of strong feelings about Boston if he decides to sign. It’s just more of a situation where his agent says he’s not ready to make a decision.
“And now it becomes complicated because he hasn’t thrown in a game since Aug. 6. So you’re in a position where you just can’t thrust him out there. I don’t know what he’s been doing as far as throwing is concerned. I would doubt that he’s been throwing a lot. So you would have to go back out there and build up his arm strength and be in a position to face some hitters. It’s not just inserting him like it would be if you signed him right off the bat.”
The Red Sox would have to sign Papelbon by midnight on Wednesday to ensure he could even be eligible for the team’s playoff roster. A source told Bradford that would not happen, so there would be little point in adding him at this point. Any other team that had interest will likely feel the same.
The Red Sox discussed Papelbon a while ago, but it sounds like it’s the reliever who has dragged his feet on any deal. For that reason, his 2016 is likely over, whether he likes it or not.