Jonathan Papelbon has one of the biggest mouths in baseball. His comment from the All-Star Game media day was quite a head turner. Of course, he has admitted multiple times in the past that he wants to be traded, but not many were expecting him to go on a full-out rant about it at the All-Star Game.
Some of Papelbon’s highlights include, “I’ll prepare to compete, but if I’m still in Philly, I won’t be happy,” and, “If this decision was solely on my shoulders, I would have been gone a long time ago.” If that wasn’t enough, the quote of the night was, “It’s time for the Phillies to (bleep) or get off the pot.”
I could go on and on about the myriad of Papelbon quotes from the press conference, but I’ll spare you. What many fans were wondering was how general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would respond to Papelbon’s comments. Surprisingly, I liked Amaro’s response on local sports radio station WIP: “There’s nothing in anyone’s contract that if you request to be traded, you have to be traded.” Amaro is waiting for the right deal to come along, and the Phillies better get a decent haul to make up for Papelbon’s personality.
Papelbon is now 34 years old and not getting any younger. He has a 1.60 ERA and 14 saves entering the All-Star Break, making him pretty decent trade bait, until you see his $13 million salary for next season plus what’s left of his $13 million salary from this season. There are several teams that appear to be a fit for him, as bullpen help is always a need for most contenders. He could go to his favored destinations, the Chicago Cubs or Toronto Blue Jays, or to a dark horse contender like the Detroit Tigers.
The majority of me wants Papelbon out of Philly if not just so he can shut his mouth. But there’s also a devilish part of me that hopes the Phils don’t trade him at the deadline just to anger Papelbon. It is his fault that he’s upset with the position he is currently in. When he signed with the Phillies after the 2011 season, he knew that the core of the team was in their thirties and their chances of contending were steadily dropping. This is what happens when you sign for the money. In the end, the Phillies will trade Papelbon, but expect tensions to be high until that happy day arrives.