The free-agent reliever remains unsigned despite the Red Sox expressing interest, and the organization reportedly believes that the longer Papelbon waits to make a decision, the less likely it is that a reunion will occur, according to Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.
David Ortiz, manager John Farrell, and general manager Dave Dombrowski have all publicly expressed interest in bringing Papelbon back to Boston, though the veteran reliever has been quiet since being released by the Washington Nationals on Aug. 13.
Making things more complicated for Boston's pursuit of Papelbon is the fact that he hasn't pitched since Aug. 6. Mastrodonato notes that the Red Sox believe that he would need at least a week in the minors before he would even be able to pitch in their bullpen.
Red Sox relievers have struggled as of late and the club lacks a setup man since Koji Uehara landed on the disabled list. Over the past two weeks, Boston's pen owns a 6.54 ERA and has allowed four blown saves.
After spending the first seven years of his major-league career in Boston, Papelbon signed a four-year, $50-million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in November of 2011 despite the Red Sox having interest in re-signing him. Papelbon's deal was the largest ever signed by a reliever, and his agent did not call the Red Sox to ask if they wished to match it.