The Phillies were reportedly looking to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon this offseason, after a tumultuous season in which he made comments that upset fans, and then on top of that reportedly refused to reconcile. This offseason as trade rumors swirled, Papelbon has not said much. However, Papelbon spoke to Boston's WEEI FM yesterday and addressed what he thinks about his reputation and spoke very positively about the amount of talent the Phillies have...if they can put it together.
Papelbon thinks that part of his issues were related to walking into a Phillies clubhouse that was much different than the one he grew up in in Boston.
“I was a new guy coming into the Philadelphia clubhouse. Coming into a new clubhouse, you tend to watch more than you speak. I will say this, I came from a clubhouse where it was in your face, it was, ‘This is how we’re going to do it. We’re going to yell at each other and when we don’t do what we’re expected of, we’re going to let you know.’ That’s kind of the way I was groomed into being a baseball player,” Papelbon said. “Then I go to Philadelphia and it wasn’t necessarily that way, and I know that I’ve gotten a bad rap, some of the guys will say I’m not a good clubhouse guy because I’ll get upset and I’ll say something, but I’ve always said what’s on my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever shied away from my beliefs. But I think some of it reporters in Philly maybe take a little bit different because I was used to saying that, hey, this is how I feel, we’re not winning and I’m not happy.”
I am pretty sure he helped earn some of that "bad rap" by declining to smooth over some of the anger over his comments as the Phillies wished. Though Papelbon said "I definitely didn't come here for this", he could have restated it as an authoritive statement that he came to win and use it to motivate fans and his teammates. Instead, looked like he was simply whining and blaming people.
Papelbon seems to think that this Phillies team is very talented. The issue in Papelbon's mind is that he did not have a roster that could pull it all together.
“On our team, I honestly believe we have more talent than any other roster out there. But if you don’t take that talent and mesh it together, figure out each others’ little pros and cons and figure out how to make a 25-man roster form into one, nothing will work. I don’t care how much you spend or how many guys you have in the bullpen or how many starters you have and it just doesn’t work.”
And perhaps it was the lack of execution of the talent that was the reason the Phillies made a manager change. Could Ryne Sandberg pull it all together, if it is there as Papelbon says? We will see. Despite attempts to trade him, Papelbon is probably returning to the Phillies in 2014.