Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported in a recent column that the Philadelphia Phillies believed that the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals all had interest in their closer, Jonathan Papelbon. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has also recently stated his lack of interest in trading any of his most valuable assets and an unwillingness to break up the core of his team and start over.
In the case of Papelbon, he mentioned that his team doesn't have a replacement ready to step in for one of the best closer's in the game. And there is no one "on the market", according to Amaro —I'm assuming he's referring to external options in the upcoming offseason.
Amaro's job, however, is to make sure that his team is competitive year in and year out. In order to do so, he must weigh his options and not mortgage the future to try and win now when his roster is not good enough to do so.
While trading Papelbon doesn't fit Amaro's philosophy not to "do five-year plans" —which actually makes sense now if he thinks he'll be out of a job if the 2013 or 2014 team isn't competitive— the organization may need to decide as a whole on the club's direction. If that direction is to get younger and improve the farm system, trading their 32 year-old closer might be a start.
Here's what it might take for the three aforementioned teams to acquire Papelbon.