If the Phillies’ losing continues, Jonathan Papelbon will be disappointed if he’s not traded

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There’s no denying Jonathan Papelbon is a fierce competitor.

The five-time All-Star signed a $50 million contract with the Phillies back in 2011 because he felt he had a good chance to win baseball games and compete for a World Series.

But if you have listened closely to the Phillies’ outspoken closer, who is four saves away from breaking the club’s all-time record in that category, it’s clear he’s doesn’t think that’s possible with their current lineup.

In fact, Papelbon wants out. He thinks he can help a contending team win a championship, and said he will be disappointed if the Phillies are unable to move him this season.

“Yeah, I will be,” Papelbon said in an interview with CSNPhilly.com Phillies Insider Jim Salisbury. “If we continue to lose.

“If we can rebuild this situation and make it right, and we can get some wins underneath our belt and Ryne Sandberg can get us going, that’s a whole different story. To me, that’s a better part of the story because now I’ve been a part of this remodeling. I’ve been a part of getting this bullpen correct. I’ve been a part of something that’s becoming a winning tradition and going back to the way it was before I got here. To me, there’s no better reward than that.”

Papelbon has never been afraid to speak his mind. He doesn’t care what fans think about him, either. Right now, his only concern is closing out games.

The 34-year-old, however, raised eyebrows earlier this month when he said he doesn’t “feel much like a Phillie” and pined for his old club, the Boston Red Sox.

“I’m not here to be disrespectful,” Papelbon said. “I’m not gonna sit here and give you the old cliche ‘we’re gonna try to do good, hopefully everything turns out good.’ That’s just not me, that’s not how I pitch, that’s not who I am. What I meant is, when my career is all said and done, like we were talking about earlier, I’m gonna look back and feel like I was part of a Red Sox franchise more than I was with the Phillies. Just like Jayson Werth would probably say he’s more of a Phillie than a National.”

Still, Papelbon has no regrets about his decision to come to Philadelphia.

“No, no regrets,” he said. “I signed here. These guys gave me the largest contract in baseball history for a closer. Yeah, it’s frustrating when you come here and you expect certain things, and my competitiveness is such a high level, when that doesn’t happen and you put so much into it and you don’t get what you necessarily want out of it, yeah I say that’s frustrating. That’s frustrating for anyone. I think I just tend to be more vocal about it and that’s it.”

Papelbon also made it clear he’s not interested in playing another season clouded by trade rumors. If it’s possible, he wants to get a deal done.

“I will be disappointed if this continues to happen,” he said.

What’s this?

“If we continue to do the same things as we’ve done the last couple years with me, where we try to do something and get something done with me and then nothing still happens.”

Papelbon is off to a strong start to the 2015 season. In six appearances, he’s allowed just one hit, no walks and has struck out six batters. He’s also converted all three of his save attempts.

So, if given the opportunity, could Papelbon capture a second World Series title before his career comes to a close?

“Yeah, 100 percent,” he said. “That’s what I come to work for every single day.”

Washington Nationals roster and schedule for 2020

Nationals roster and schedule
Mark Brown/Getty Images
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The 2020 season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Washington Nationals roster and schedule:

NATIONALS ROSTER (projected)

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Nationals roster to begin the season:

Catchers:

Yan Gomes
Kurt Suzuki

Infielders:

Eric Thames
Starlin Castro
Carter Kieboom
Trea Turner
Howie Kendrick
Asdrúbal Cabrera

Outfielders:

Juan Soto
Victor Robles
Adam Eaton
Michael Taylor
Andrew Stevenson

Starters:

Max Scherzer
Steven Strasburg
Patrick Corbin
Aníbal Sánchez
Austin Voth
Erick Fedde

Relievers:

Sean Doolittle
Daniel Hudson
Will Harris
Tanner Rainey
Wander Suero
Hunter Strickland
Roenis Elías


BREAKDOWN:

The Nationals shocked the world last year, recovering from an abysmal start to the season to win an NL Wild Card before cutting through the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Astros to win the first championship in franchise history. While the roster is largely unchanged, there is one gaping void: the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon, who signed with the Angels. Rendon, a perennial MVP candidate, led the majors with 126 doubles and the NL with 44 doubles while smacking 34 homers with a 1.010 OPS last season. He’ll be replaced by the young Carter Kieboom and the veteran Kendrick and Cabrera. Those are some large shoes to fill.

With Rendon out of the picture, Juan Soto becomes the crux of the Nationals’ offense. Last year, he tied Rendon with 34 homers while knocking in 110 runs. He also, impressively, drew 108 walks, by far the highest on the team. The Nationals will likely have to utilize their speed even more. Last year, Soto stole 12 bases while Adam Eaton swiped 15, Victor Robles 28, and Trea Turner 35.

As was the case in 2019, the pitching will be how the Nationals punch their ticket to the postseason. Max Scherzer finished third in Cy Young balloting, his seventh consecutive top-five finish. The club retained Stephen Strasburg and brings back Patrick Corbin as well. There really isn’t a better 1-2-3 in the game. The rotation will be rounded out by Aníbal Sánchez and one of Austin Voth or Erick Fedde, though both are likely to see starts during the season.

The back of the bullpen is led by closer Sean Doolittle, who posted an uncharacteristically high — for him — 4.05 ERA last year. He still saved 29 games and averaged better than a strikeout per inning, so they’re in good hands. Daniel Hudson and Will Harris will work the seventh and eighth innings leading up to Doolittle.

As mentioned in the Braves preview, it’s tough to make any definitive statements about a 60-game season. Variance is going to have much more of an effect than it would in a 162-game season. Additionally, the NL East is highly competitive. It would be wrong to say with any degree of confidence that the Nationals will win the NL East. For example, the updated PECOTA standings from Baseball Prospectus only project a five-game difference between first and last place in the NL East. What we can say is that the Nationals will give everyone a run for their money in 2020.

NATIONALS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

  • July 23, 25-26: vs. Yankees
  • July 27-28: vs. Blue Jays
  • July 29-30: @ Blue Jays
  • July 31-August 2: @ Marlins
  • August 4-5: vs. Mets
  • August 7-9: vs. Orioles
  • August 10-13: @ Mets
  • August 14-16: @ Orioles
  • August 17-19: @ Braves
  • August 21-24: vs. Marlins
  • August 25-27: vs. Phillies
  • August 28-30: @ Red Sox
  • August 31-September 3: @ Phillies
  • September 4-6: @ Braves
  • September 7-8: vs. Rays
  • September 10-13: vs. Braves
  • September 15-16: @ Rays
  • September 18-20: @ Marlins
  • September 21-23: vs. Phillies
  • September 24-27: vs. Mets

The entire Nationals schedule can be seen here.