Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon hasn't been shy about his opinion on being traded. Just because he said everything about wanting to pitch for a contender and such doesn't mean that part of him doesn't want to be a member of a young, up and coming bullpen that has some studs in Ken Giles, Justin de Fratus, Jake Diekman and others. The bullpen is by far the nicest thing for the fans, because it is the one area where young guys get to go out there and make a case for themselves. Mario Hollands has done a nice job and so has Antonio Bastardo, especially up until this last week heading into the All-Star Break.
Changes should be coming to the Phillies, but the bullpen will likely remain the same, with the exception of Papelbon, who is having a heck of a season as the closer. Although he has stated his case on wanting to pitch for a contender, Papelbon said that he would also be okay with the outcome of staying in Philadelphia. (via Philly.com Sports)
"I would be happy," Papelbon said before a 10-3 loss to the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. "I am pretty indifferent on the whole situation."
Given the amount of salary that would have to be taken along to go along with what Ruben Amaro might demand, Papelbon staying put could be a very likely scenario whether we like it or not. Eating some salary would also bring back some better prospects in a potential deal as well. Amaro has stated that he is willing to pay the money for the right deal, but from what we have seen from Rube, the "right deal" could be an extremely unreasonable asking price.
We have heard both sides of this story now. Papelbon saying he'd like to be dealt and now he would be fine and happy if he stayed. With his two rings already secured from his time with Boston, Papelbon would also welcome the opportunity to be a part of this bullpen, helping the young arms in there become great.
"Would I like to go on a winning team? Of course. And have a chance at another championship? of course," he said. "Would I like to stay here and be part of this bullpen that I think can be really, really good and part of some of these kids who have an opportunity to be great? Yes, I would love to do that, too."
We are 16 days away from the trade deadline. On August 1st, will Jonathan Papelbon be closing games for the Phils? Or perhaps Ken Giles? I'd be fine with either, but hope Ruben can work out a reasonable deal to trade Papelbon and bring back a good return of middle-line prospects.
Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia.com