You know, it would be nice if the one person representing the Philadelphia Phillies at this year's All Star Game didn't also viscerally hate playing for the franchise.
Jonathan Papelbon has been asked numerous times this year about the possibility of him being traded to a contender. And, every time, Papelbon has responded by eagerly wishing for it to happen, quietly stabbing a Phillies voo-doo doll behind his back, wishing, praying, begging for a contender to come and save him from this misery.
I have defended Papelbon each and every time he's implored the Phillies to trade him. After all, it's not easy being a walking trade rumor, and it's not easy playing for a 110-loss baseball team.
Sure, the money cushions the blow, but losing sucks. Winning is better. But when he was asked about it again on Monday at the All Star Game, he went a bit too far in his vociferousness.
Papelbon at All Star press conference says it's time for Phillies "to (blank) or get off the pot." Re: trade— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) July 13, 2015
Jonathan Papelbon said if he's still in philly "I won't be happy! But hat's not going to affect how I prepare"— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 13, 2015
Paps' angst has reached the point where he's starting to become that malcontent that other general managers say they want no part of handling.
Last week, there were reports the Phils were close to trading Papelbon, but pulled back shortly before Andy MacPhail was hired by the team, presumably because MacPhail wanted to be involved in any deals that take place before the July 31 trade deadline.
Of course, this probably rankled the greatest closer in Phillies history to the point where he's now trying to dictate when the Phils trade him, which is a bridge too far.
Look, it's OK to want to be traded. But no one held a gun to his head to sign here in the first place, as noted by CSN Philly's Corey Seidman.
It's not Jonathan Papelbon's right to be traded just because he's a good player on a bad team. Happens all the time in every sport. Smh— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidmanCSN) July 13, 2015
Look, I don't care if Papelbon is happy or not. He's probably been unhappy for most of his tenure here and he's still pitched extremely well. So if he wants to sulk and be cranky, that's fine. Just keep him away from the kids.
But when he signed his four-year deal with the Phils, he knew he was signing onto a team that had a lot of veterans on it, a team that could decline, and he did so with eyes wide open. If he was seduced by promises that the team would be good until the rapture, then shame on him.
“I made a decision based on going to a Philadelphia Phillies team that won 102 games,” he said. “I personally thought that I was going to come to Philly and be abused (get a lot of work). I had a starting staff and a team that was hitting the leather off the ball and I thought I was coming to Philadelphia to win two more rings. I honestly did. And, you know, the downward spiral happened and it happened so quick that it’s almost unexplainable.
“This is not what I signed up for — no. I signed up for a team that won 102 games and was expecting certain things. It didn’t happen and I’ve tried to ride that ship as much as I can. I’ve tried to keep my mouth shut as much as I can. But like I said earlier it’s time to you-know-what or get off the pot. I feel like three years is plenty enough time to ride it out, and if fans can’t understand that I can’t really side with them on that. I’m getting older. I don’t know how many years I have left. For me I’m just simply trying to be on a winning ball club and win as many rings as I can before it’s all said and done and I’m coaching my son in Little League." (quote courtesy of CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury.
It's perfectly understandable, as a veteran player, to want to go to a team with playoff potential. But he doesn't get to dictate the terms.
Of course, he did appear to have a valid point when he talked about the possibility that there are too many chefs in the team's front office right now (quotes per Salisbury).
“I’m not sure if just sitting down speaking with Ruben solely is going to get something done. I think the organization now has moved into owners, president, assistant president, GM, everyone all trying to make a decision together. That’s my take on it. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but that’s what I’m starting to feel like because I think if it wasn’t that way and so many people weren’t involved in the decision-making of the Phillies organization I think things could be happening quicker and easier.”
Make no mistake, the Phillies SHOULD trade him this month. If they don't, there better be a darn good reason why they didn't.
But they shouldn't, and I imagine they won't, allow a little hissy-fit from their star closer determine when they pull the trigger.