Papelbon Might Stay, Ready To Be Booed
There is a real possibility Jonathan Papelbon will not get his wish to be traded before the July 31 trade deadline. There aren’t many teams looking for closers right now, and if they are they might not like the remaining money on his contract. He is owed $13 million next season with a $13 million club option in 2016 that automatically vests if he finishes 55 games in 2015 or 100 games in 2014-2015 and is not on the DL at the end of 2015 with right shoulder or elbow injury. (He has finished no fewer than 53 games in any season the past seven years.)
If that’s the case, it means he’s stuck in Philly for the foreseeable future.
If that’s the case, he is ready to accept the villain role.
Phillies fans booed him as he entered this afternoon’s 2-1 victory over the Giants. Papelbon pitched the previous two games, blowing a save Tuesday and taking the loss Wednesday. But he retired the side in order to pick up his 24th save in 27 opportunities this season. He is 2-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 42 appearances.
Do the boos bother him?
“No, I enjoy it,” he said during an entertaining (in my opinion) postgame interview.
“I just think it’s fun,” he said. “It brings a little bit of energy and life to the ballpark. It gives me a little bit of something to look forward to every day.”
So maybe the fans weren’t loud enough.
“I heard some of them,” he said.
Sure, but only about half of the ballpark booed.
“Maybe we can get the whole park booing here soon,” he said.
You sure don’t mind riling up the fans, do you?
“No,” he said. “I mean, you have to be able to take it if you want to dish it out. I think that goes both ways for me and the fans. It’s kind of like a big brother-little brother relationship, I would say.”
And which brother are you?
“Big brother,” he said.
Asked if he will be bummed out if he still here August 1, Papelbon said, “No. I told you that in Milwaukee. For me, I really, really like our situation down there in the bullpen. I really truly do. I like being a part of it. Just the circumstances are we’re not in a playoff situation or a winning-situation right now. And of course if I had the opportunity to go to a playoff contending team, yeah that’s all fine and dandy. But at the end of the day, if nothing happens, nothing happens. I don’t have any control over that. Like I said, I enjoy my situation here and we’ve got a great captain down there in (bullpen coach) Rod Nichols and a great group of young guys that are all hungry and push me and I push them and it’s a fun atmosphere. We’ve got a good thing going down there and if I was to leave, I would be lying to say I wouldn’t miss that.”