Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who signed a four year, $50 million deal with the club before the 2012 season, thinks that the club needs changes.
In an interview with Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Papelbon outlined his issues with the team.
"I definitely didn't come here for this," he said.
Papelbon carries an influential presence in the Phillies' clubhouse as the team's closer, a nine-year veteran and World Series champion. Asked what he thought about the direction the organization is headed, he sighed.
"Oh, man," he said. "We could be here all day."
So then what about this team's ability to turn things around, if not this season, then next season?
"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."
Those are some pretty harsh words from Papelbon, but he has a point. When he signed with the Phillies two winters ago, the club was coming off of five straight NL East championships. The Phillies went from a club record 102 wins in 2011 to a .500 record in 2012, and they're seven games under .500 this season after a horrendous 1-8 road trip to start the second half of their season.
When it came to leaving town, Papelbon wasn't exactly begging to be dealt from the club, but he wasn't stating his commitment to the team, either.
Asked after the game if he wants to be traded, Papelbon said, "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?"
The 32-year old Papelbon has a 2.21 ERA and 20 saves in 40 games for the Phillies this season, but also has the lowest strikeout rate (by far) of his career and the lowest velocity of his career to go along with five blown saves.
The Papelbon signing was lampooned from the minute it was signed, and any deal involving Papelbon would likely require the Phillies to eat a big chunk of his contract, which still has two seasons (plus a vesting option year) remaining. The Tigers have been linked to Papelbon in the past, and the Phillies were just in Detroit this weekend for a series that saw them get outscored 21-5. Papelbon has pitched in just two games since the All-Star Break, neither of which was a save situation. He hasn't earned a save since July 11th.