Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Jonathan Papelbon won't be picky about which contender welcomes him
For the third straight night the final three outs of the Phillies' win were delivered by Jonathan Papelbon, who has 22 saves, a 1.24 ERA, a 0.853 WHIP and hasn't allowed a long ball all year.
Those are dominating closer numbers, the type that more than a few contending teams could use as they try to patch their spotty bullpens. A year ago no one wanted to touch Papelbon, who had two years remaining on a four-year, $50 million contract.
You would think a healthy hip and a return to dominance would change that thinking. Papelbon certainly hopes it has.
"Of course, what kind of question is that?" the quippy closer queried when asked if he wants contenders to come calling for him. "Some guys want to stay on a losing team? That's mind-boggling to me. I think that's a no-brainer."
It isn't to every player (see: Jimmy Rollins), but at least Papelbon is honest about his desire to find a path back to October baseball as soon as possible. The right-hander nodded his head in affirmation when asked if he would waive his no-trade clause for pretty much any contender who wanted to make a deal to land him.
Papelbon didn't have any insight into any possible landing spots. He knows Detroit could use his help. Pittsburgh and Anaheim also are scrambling for ninth-inning consistency.
"My gut hasn’t told me anything," he said about where he will land. "I go day by day. Whatever happens, I cross that bridge when I get to it … I don’t have that crystal 8-ball."
Although Papelbon has made it plain that he would like to leave a team that is an also-ran for a third straight season, there are things about the Phillies he would miss.
"You know, I came here for a reason," he said. "But 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-all of cure-alls.
"One word explains it all -- inconsistent. It's just the way we've been all year."