Papelbon: I Wasn’t the Bad Guy in Philly
He spoke with reporters before tonight’s series opener against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park, his first time in Philadelphia since the Phillies traded him to the Nationals on July 28 for Double-A pitcher Nick Pivetta. Papelbon said he had no regrets about his time in Philly, specifically, the strong comments he often made about the Phillies, their fans and his desire to be traded.
“If I say something I mean it,” Papelbon said. “I’m not going to take anything back that I’ve ever said or did because I believe that it’s right. I don’t know if I got a bad rap here or whatever, but I can promise you I was far (from) the bad guy on this team. I was one of the few that wanted to actually win and I was one of the few that competed and posted up every day.”
So some folks did not want to win?
“I say it as a team,” Papelbon said.
Papelbon later referred to comments Phillies president Pat Gillick made in the offseason, when he said the Phillies would not compete until 2017 or 2018 at the earliest.
“I think the blame goes all the way from the front office all the way down to the bat boy,” he said. “When you don’t have an organization that wants to win it’s pretty evident when they go out and publicly say, we’re not going to win.”
Asked why Paplebon did not try to show his teammates the winning way, he said, “I did. I tried to do certain things. I tried to bring certain things to attention that would make us better and it just seemed like everything I brought to attention, whether it would be with another veteran or pitcher or infielder or outfielder or another veteran guy, it was just like, to me, it never was accepted in that, hey look, this guy wants to help our team and make us be better. They just kind of all let it fly by the wayside and never really paid attention to what I had to say.”
Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies in Nov. 2011, weeks after the Phillies won a franchise-record 102 games. He went 14-11 with a 2.31 ERA and a franchise-record 123 saves in 234 appearances with the Phillies.
He made two National League All-Star teams with the Phillies. He pitched great. But the Phillies probably will not invite him to Alumni Weekend anytime soon.
“I don’t like the barbeques at the alumni weekend anyway,” he said. “It doesn’t really hurt my feelings. The way I look back on it is I came here as a free agent and I looked to produce day in and day out, and I felt like I did that. We had a lot of injuries and a lot of guys fall by the wayside, but I was still be able to be there and grinding every day and posting up so that’s the way I look at it. It just so happened to be an unfortunate situation where you just lost one game after another.”