Jonathan Papelbon did a good job of keeping his mouth shut, and doing what he was supposed to during spring training.
Was it because he wanted to be traded? Perhaps. But he had a slipup with the Red Sox in town earlier this week, saying: “The Red Sox are a part of who I am. I don’t really feel much like a Phillie.”
With Boston in town, the team he won a World Series with, it is understandable that Pap felt a little jealous of his former teammates. Their rebuild, afterall, seems to be on track a lot more quickly than the one here in Philadelphia.
Perhaps surpsingly to Phillies fans, Papelbon is closing in on the team record for saves, and his 2014 season was one of the best by a big league reliever. He is a valuable asset, albeit an overpaid one on a team looking to start fresh.
After confrontation for his remark, the closer tried to explain.
“I feel like for me it’s like, ‘Where are you from?’” he said. “I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. So that’s what I will always say. That’s where I feel like I’m from, that’s where I grew up, that’s where my roots are. So you ask me what runs deep in you, the Red Sox still run deep in me, it’s where I’m from, it’s where I grew up, it’s who I became as a pitcher, so it will always stick with me no matter what. Doesn’t really change how I go about my business.”
He left the Sox for the Phillies after it became apparent the Boston front office didn’t want him. That’s a fact that is not lost on Papelbon.
“I’m here to be a Phillie, do my job and compete,” he said. “That’s all I really do, no matter where I’m at. That’s it.”