Jonathan Papelbon Will Go Anywhere he is Wanted
On a cold day in Clearwater, Phillies fans were looking to closer Jonathan Papelbon to heat things up. The usually controversial closer kept his thoughts in check however when he met with the media on Friday.
Talks between the Phillies and Brewers are currently "dormant," a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, so will the Phillies be able to move Papelbon between now at the start of the season?
"The chances of me being here the entire season? I don't know," Papelbon admitted. "Maybe you can use that magic 8-ball that Cliff has and figure that one out."
Most people look at the Phillies in rebuilding mode, manager Ryne Sandberg called it a transition. Either way having the highest paid closer in baseball doesn't seem to make a lot of sense for a team picked by Vegas odds makers to win just 68 games this year.
"My opinion is, I'm still not so sold on this entire rebuilding," Papelbon explained. "I know that's one of the things that myself and some of the veterans that are going to be coming into camp are gonna wanna sit down with Pat and Ruben and Ryno and say hey, lets get a little better feel on the state of the organization."
While Papelbon might not be at the top of fans list of favorites after a rocky end to the 2014 season, making a obscene gesture as he was walking of the field late in the season after a blown save at Citizens Bank Park, he was still very effective in his role as closer and happy to do it here, if he is wanted.
"I would go anywhere that wants me," Papelbon admitted. "If Philadelphia still wants me and wants me to be a piece of this puzzle, and continue to be a leader in this bullpen, I love my chances of staying here and competing. Wherever wants me, they are going to get someone who knows how to compete."
Can Papelbon be that veteran leader that he thinks he can be? The Phillies do have a closer in-waiting, Ken Giles, who is capable as a set-up man or closer, but seems like he isn't pushing Papelbon out the door anytime soon.
"He's been there since day one," Giles said. "He came up to me and said go out there and attack, don't be afraid to throw to these big league hitters, he told me I am up here for a reason and I shouldn't change my pitching method."
"Pap is here to come in after the starters and relievers and close games," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg described. "I've had good conversations with him, he wants to do his part in camp here, his mind set is he wants to do that with the Phillies as we speak right now."
So in the end, Papelbon is here with the Phillies - for now. He did say he would not make a team guarantee his $13 million vesting option for next season to waive his partial no-trade clause, which would be one less hurdle for the Phillies to try to deal with if a deal comes up.