Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has always been outspoken about his comments. He said in the offseason that he believed the bullpen could be one of the best in the NL. He has shaken off the media talk about his velocity with stellar control. Now, Papelbon has spoken again, this time about how he would definitely be willing to be moved at the deadline, to a contender.
The Phillies are on pace to lose 90 games and now that they have Ken Giles as a viable closing option, dealing Papelbon seems more and more likely this season. The Phils closer commented on a variety of things after last night's win in Milwaukee, when he posted his third consecutive save, 22nd in 24 opportunities. Papelbon was shocked at the idea that some players would prefer to stay rather than be dealt to a team with a chance to win a championship. (via Phillies.com)
"Some guys want to stay on a losing team?" he asked, sitting in a chair in front of his locker. "That's mind-boggling to me."
When asked if he hoped his strong play would get him noticed by a contending team, he responded with a one line answer.
“Of course, man,” he said. “What kind of question is that?”
If a team contending for a championship or a playoff berth called, Papelbon basically said he was more than willing to be moved.
“Yeah, I think that’s a no-brainer.”
There is no doubting Papelbon's pitching this season. He has been everything the Phillies have wanted, but because they are unable to field a consistent team, his talents have more or less been wasted on a team that has no chance at even making the playoffs at this point. He came to Philadelphia because of the opportunity to win with the likes of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Howard, Rollins and others but since he signed in 2012, the Phillies have missed the playoffs.
So far in 2014, Papelbon has a 1.27 ERA over 35.3 innings. Opposing hitters have posted a line of .179/.252/.195 against him. If you take out his outings prior to April 2nd, he has a 0.53 ERA in 34 innings. Opposing hitters only have 2 doubles, 0 triples, and 0 home runs against Papelbon. Think about it this way...in 35.3 innings, Papelbon has given up only 2 extra-base hits.
You cannot blame him for wanting to be traded. As a closer, or any player for that matter, you would hope their goals are to bring a championship to the team they play for. Clearly, that will not happen here, but that doesn't mean that Papelbon would miss some aspects of his job with the Phillies. (via Phillies.com)
“You know, I came here for a reason ... and I say that because I'm with a group of guys in the bullpen that can do very special things in the future. I've been waiting for that, you know what I mean? It's fun to be a part of that, it really is. We are there finally with our bullpen. So that aspect of it would kind of suck to leave. But at the same time, winning is the cure-alls of cure-alls."
When asked if he thinks the Phillies will move him before the deadline, Papelbon said that he didn't know and said he "didn't have that crystal-8 ball" to predict that outcome. His 0.88 WHIP entering Wednesday ranked 20th out of 202 qualifying relief pitchers in baseball.
We are all aware of Papelbon's contract. He is owed about $19.5 million on his four-year, $50 million contract. That breaks down to $6.5 million this season and $13 million next season. He also has a $13 million option in 2016 that automatically vests if he finishes 55 games in 2015 or 100 games in 2014-15 and is not on the disabled list at the end of 2015 with an elbow or shoulder injury. There is no questioning the fact that the Phillies will have to eat some, if not a majority of the salary owed to the veteran right-hander, but Ruben Amaro has said he is willing to eat salary for the right deal. He does have a limited no-trade clause, with the ability to block trades to 17 teams.
Jonathan Papelbon has never had a problem speaking his mind and has now openly told the Phillies he is okay with being traded. His value is high and could bring in a good return if dealt to the right team. I have to wonder though, does Papelbon's win-now attitude make you wonder about the comments made by Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins about their desire to stay? Have they accepted the mediocrity? I can't tell you, but a part of me thinks that the Phils double-play duo may want to stay in the current situation moreso for sake of ease rather than possibly winning a championship with another organization
Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia.com