Jonathan Papelbon has never been one to mince words. The morning after a 12-4 loss to the Tigers on Saturday, the Phillies reliever told MLB.com it's time to reconstruct the Phillies organization -- top to bottom.
The Phillies have been widely considered underachievers since signing Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract in November 2011. Philadelphia is currently 49-56 and 11 games back of NL East leader Atlanta. Losing is not what Papelbon had in mind when he came to Philadelphia.
"I definitely didn't come here for this.
"It's going to take, in my opinion, a lot," he said. "And in my opinion, I think it's going to have to be something very similar to what the Red Sox went through a couple years ago. From top to bottom."
Papelbon has some experience with total organizational makeovers. He was with the Red Sox when manager Terry Francona was fired after a late-season 7-20 tumble left the team out of the playoffs. General manager Theo Epstein soon departed to the Cubs. The Red Sox also jettisoned several big-name players. Papelbon was allowed to test the free-agent market. Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez were key components in a megatrade to the Dodgers. Two seasons later, a revamped Red Sox lineup is still anchored by veterans David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia and the team is leading the AL East.
"That's part of it," he said about Boston's decision not to bring him back. "That's part of the business. If you want to go in a different direction and I'm not a piece of that puzzle, so be it. This is a job. There are no feelings in this game. I left. Carl [Crawford] left. [Josh] Beckett left. Adrian [Gonzalez] left. Now look at them."
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. declined comment on Papelbon's quotes. Amaro and manager Charlie Manuel have taken heat from disappointed Phillies fans. Manuel's contract is up at season's end.
Papelbon made it clear that he's not requesting a trade, but doesn't want to be part of an organization that isn't contending.
"No, I would like to stay here. But if I'm going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don't want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?
"If I don't do my job right, they're going to find somebody else," he said. "How is that different than the rest of the organization?"
If the Phillies decide that a redo should include sending Papelbon (2-0, 2.21 ERA, 20 saves in 25 opportunities) out of town, there's doesn't appear to be much of a market for him.
According to MLB.com:
The Phillies are open to trading Papelbon, although Amaro does not have an option to replace him internally. But there does not seem to be much interest in him at the moment. Joaquin Benoit has been effective closing for the Tigers, and Koji Uehara has been even more impressive closing games for the Red Sox.