With the 2015 trade deadline just three days away, rumors linking the Nats to some of the game's best closers are heating up. The latest came on Tuesday afternoon and it connects the Nats to Phillies' closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Here is what Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted, saying that the two teams are "making progress" towards a deal:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2015
Papelbon, 34, is one of the biggest names on the market as a six-time All-Star and former World Series-winning closer. The right-hander has been excellent this season despite playing for the last-place Phillies. He has 17 saves with 1.59 ERA through 37 appearances this season.
The tricky part with Papelbon, however, is his contract. He is due to make $13 million in 2016 by way of a vesting option if he finishes 14 more games this season. He also has a no-trade clause and has reportedly told the Phillies he will only accept a deal if it means he will close for his new team.
There's also the always-tricky situation of trading within your division. The Nationals would likely have to give up several promising prospects to acquire a closer like Papelbon, do they want to help the Phillies replenish their farm system? The Phillies appear to be a few years away from winning, but surely the Nats do not want to help them get back to contention any faster.
Whether it's Papelbon or not, there seems to be building momentum the Nationals will bring in a relief pitcher sometime soon.