Jonathan Papelbon couldn’t believe the question he was being asked on Wednesday which is somewhat funny being that so many of his Phillies’ teammates (think Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley) shy away from questions regarding the trade deadline.
When asked by CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury if he would be willing to waive his no-trade rights to be traded to a contender Papelbon seemed baffled that anyone would answer no, saying,
“Of course, man, What kind of question is that?”
Papelbon didn’t stop there,
“What? Some guys want to stay on a losing team? That’s mind-boggling to me,” he said.
Both sides of the spectrum on this question make sense. Some guys are comfortable in their current place. They’re settled, so are their families, maybe their the stars of the city. Lifelong Philadelphia Philly, Jimmy Rollins had been adamant about not waiving his 10-5 rights until recently. He opened the door to the idea of a trade but only ever so slightly. Another teammate, Chase Utley also has the door to a trade pretty much closed. There’s always a chance Utley would accept a trade but it isn’t a good one. Surely, Papelbon knows this about his teammates. Or maybe not? When Salisbury asked him
“So if a contender called you’d be ready to go?”
Papelbon answered with an “are you kidding me laugh,”
“Yeah, I think that’s a no-brainer.”
Alright so Papelbon is on the opposite side of the spectrum than his teammates. His side is just as, if not more valid than that of Rollins or Utley. You’re in the highest, most elite level of the game you play. Shouldn’t you want to play on the most elite team and have the chance to win a championship?Whether it is your first or your fifth championship, playing at such a prestigious level already why stop there? Why not aim to be the best of the best?
The Phillies did try to trade Papelbon during the off-season after a terrible 2013 for the then 32-year old who suffered from an injured hip all season, but there were not any takers. Now Papelbon, 33, is having an amazing year for the Phillies but the team is on pace to lose 90 games this season. He has 22 saves, a 1.24 ERA and 32 strikeouts and just nine walks in 36.1 innings pitched. He’s healthy and he’s good, why shouldn’t he pitch for a contender?
Any contender looking for a closer, and there are a few, Jonathan Papelbon is waiting for your call.