The Sports Center

Jonathan Papelbon could be picking a new team soon

…but is a team ready to pick him?

Free agent reliever Jonathan Papelbon is expected to pick a team to sign with in the next 24 hours, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Papelbon was recently released by the Nationals.

According to Crasnick, the Red Sox and the Cubs are both interested in signing Papelbon. He previously pitched for Boston from 2005-2011, where he won a World Series with them in 2007.

This season, Papelbon holds a 4.37 ERA, appearing in 37 games and finishing 30 of them. He also recorded a H9 of 9.5, HR9 of 0.8, BB9 of 3.6, and SO9 of 8.0. Papelbon last pitched on Aug. 6 against the Giants before being released.

Papelbon, who has been known for his temper, requested a release from the Nationals after pitching only 2.1 innings in August. The Nationals had acquired Mark Melancon from the Pirates at the trade deadline and effectively replaced Papelbon in the closer role.

Former teammate and current Cubs pitcher Jon Lester endorses the Cubs acquiring Papelbon, while Cubs manager Joe Maddon has said that no one has talked to him about a potential acquisition of the former closer. Meanwhile, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Papelbon could return to the Red Sox and “be an addition” for the team.

Both choices for Papelbon would have ties to his past team: He would either return to his former team, the Red Sox, or play under Theo Epstein again with the Cubs. But whether or not the Red Sox and its fanbase are ready for him to return, or if he’s ready to join a team like the Cubs, remains to be seen.

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