Even as recently as one week ago, the Phillies were considered to be buyers approaching the July 31 trade deadline. They wrapped up a nine-game road trip this afternoon against the Tigers, falling 12-4, their eighth consecutive loss. As mentioned here earlier, it was 50 shades of ugly. I can’t imagine the clubhouse was a fun place to be after the game.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon, who pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth in his first appearance since July 21, offered up some comments on the state of the organization. Papelbon, now 32 years old, is signed through 2015 with a vesting option for 2016, so he has quite the incentive to see his team improve.
“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.”
Sounds like a shot at GM Ruben Amaro. Zolecki noted that Amaro declined to respond to Papelbon’s comments. They are not without merit: Papelbon was part of the 2011 Red Sox that were torn apart by clubhouse controversy. They parted with GM Theo Epsten, manager Terry Francona, and eventually a handful of expensive, veteran players, including Papelbon.