Jonathan Papelbon says returning to Boston 'does cross my mind'

Mike Petraglia
July 13, 2015 - 11:51 am
CINCINNATI -- Jonathan Papelbon wants out of Philadelphia bad. And he says he thinks about the possibility of returning to Boston often. But the pitcher who signed a four-year, $50 million (2016 vesting option) contract after the 2011 season knows there are other possibilities for trade partners out there. "Yeah, of course," Papelbon told "Yes, it does cross my mind, but I think this year they've got different things to attack and different needs and different necessities to maybe seek out. I'd have to think about it. I don't know, man. If they made [an offer]. If the opportunity was there, I'd have to think about and weigh that opportunity against another opportunity elsewhere." Papelbon is on a Philadelphia team that has just established a new franchise mark for most losses (62) before the All-Star break. But Philly fans can't blame Papelbon. He is 14-for-14 in save chances with a 1.60 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Many thought the Phillies would have traded the unfulfilled closer by now, including Papelbon himself. "Yeah, I'm surprised. It's just that time where it's either you-know-what or get off the pot," he said Monday. Papelbon said Monday during All-Star media availability that he wants to go to a contender and leave the 29-62 Phillies behind, adding he has no regrets about signing in Philadelphia, a team that won 102 games in 2011. "I made that decision based on that," Papelbon said. "I personally thought I was going to come to Philly and get abused. I had a starting staff and a team that was hitting the leather off the ball. I thought that I was going to come to Philadelphia and win two more rings. I honestly and truthfully did. The downward spiral happened. It happened so quick. "I signed up on a team that won 102 games that was expecting certain things. Now, 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. I feel like three years is plenty enough of time to ride it out, so to speak. And if fans can't understand, I can't really side with them on that. I'm getting older and I don't know how many more years I have left in this game. I don't know how many All-Star Games I have left. None of that is guaranteed. But for me, I'm just trying to be on a winning ball club." Papelbon has been abused by one sector in Philly, the fans, many of whom have criticized Papelbon for never warming to the city. "Both fans are great. Don't get me wrong when I say this but when it's going great, it's great. But when it's going bad, it's just as bad. I was never in Boston to see that side of it, the Valentine side of it and all that. It's not a perfect world. The biggest thing is that being in this Phillies organization and losing so much the last four years has really made me appreciate a whole lot more. It's made me work harder, made me appreciate a lot more, and a lot more humbling. I'm a lot more humble of a guy than I used to be. And I appreciate that. "You can only stay in that limbo area for so long. It's starting to become more of a necessity to move one way or another for the Phillies organization. I wouldn't go anywhere." "I'm not going to go to a team that's like the Phillies who's 18 games out of first place. I want to go to a contender. I'm at a point of my career I've earned a no-trade clause and I've been able to get to that point. I've got to use it but at the same time, I'm also not going to just use it to be done with it. I do want to get out of Philly but I need to make a smart decision and make a decision that's best for me to go to a place that contends and win a championship. That's what my whole decision is going to be based on. "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 [son] Gunner in Little League. That's all I'm trying to do. From me, and my perspective, I don't understand how a fan couldn't understand that. I understand they wear their heart on their sleeve and all that stuff but for me, I'm in it to to compete and to win, and I don't have that opportunity in this organization. Also, I feel like I gave this organization as many opportunities as they can to put a winning ball club out there and as many chances to keep me in this organization and it just hasn't happened. "I try to stay optimistic and think things are going to work out and think the Phillies will do the right thing by me. It's been so much more of a grind for me this year. I thought something was going to happen last year. "For me, this All-Star Game means more to me than more, besides my first, because it's been so much more of a grind for me this year. It's been so much harder to prepare every day. I don't necessarily have the statistical record of some of the other closers and pitchers here but I've still feel like I've been able to go out there when called upon and be successful day-in and day-out. That consistency is something that I look back on when I was a rookie, when I play this game and I look back, I want to be consistent. I've been able to do that."