All-Star Papelbon Is Ready to Be Traded
If the Phillies handle July the way everybody in baseball expects them to handle it, Jonathan Papelbon will make one of his final appearances in a Phillies uniform next week at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
He is the Phillies’ lone All-Star, based on strong numbers for a closer (1.65 ERA, 14 saves in 31 appearances) despite pitching for a team on pace to lose 108 games.
“I think every one of them is special,” Papelbon said today about his sixth All-Star appearance. “I think the best part about this one is my kids are a little bit older. I’ll be able to let them go … and let them experience it and let them kind of be able to remember it more. That will be pretty cool for me.”
The Phillies are expected to trade Papelbon before the July 31 Trade Deadline. Depending on who is talking either the Phillies are asking way too much for Papelbon or teams are trying to low ball them. Either way, Papelbon hopes to be pitching for a contender by Aug. 1.
“I would be surprised,” Papelbon said, asked about being with the Phillies next month. “Yeah, that would be a pretty valid answer.”
Would he be disappointed?
“Yeah, yeah,” he said. “I would say so.”
Papelbon has a limited no-trade clause, but he reiterated it will not be an issue.
“Any team that wants me I’m willing to go to,” he said. “I just think for me there are no doors closed right now.”
Except for teams that don’t want him to close. Papelbon still has no interest in being a setup man.
Papelbon has a $13 million club option for next season that automatically vests if he finishes 48 games this season. He already has finished 28, so he should reach that number. But Papelbon could require the option to be picked up to facilitate a trade. He only said his agents will handle that.
Papelbon’s salary has been an issue in trade talks, although the Phillies have said they are willing to eat salary to get the right prospects in return.
“The front office knows where my heart is and where my mind is,” Papelbon said. “And that’s to be with a contending ball club. The ball is in the Phillies’ court, the front office’s court, or I should say Andy MacPhail’s court? I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with Andy. I wish I could have. And I would still like to speak with him. But for some reason that hasn’t been made possible for me.”
Of course, MacPhail isn’t officially calling the shots yet.
“Well, then Pat (Gillick) knows where I stand and Ruben (Amaro Jr.) knows exactly where I stand,” he said. “I think everybody knows where I’m at. I’ve always been straight forward that I want to go play for a contender and I’m not going to shy away from it. I feel like that’s my right and my prerogative to have that opportunity and, you know, it’s in their hands. The ball’s in their court. I guess that’s kind of it.”