The Phillies were reportedly extremely close to a four-year, $44 million deal to retain closer Ryan Madson on Monday, but a source told ESPN that negotiations are splintering and Madson is now unlikely to return to Philadelphia.
Philadelphia decision-makers have reportedly debated whether to pursue Papelbon, rather than Madson, for some time now, and the disintegration of negotiations with Madson presumably makes Papelbon look more attractive.
The Phillies reportedly have had "extensive negotiations" with Papelbon's agents since the free agency period began at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 6. A source told ESPN those negotiations have hit "some bumps in the road," but the organization's interest in Papelbon "has never waned."
Papelbon is a type A free agent, meaning the Red Sox would be compensated with a top draft pick if Papelbon leaves. But Red Sox officials have said they would like to re-sign Papelbon. Other teams reportedly interested in his services include the Toronto Blue Jays and Florida Marlins.