Jonathan Papelbon is back in Philadelphia today for the first time since he was traded to the Nationals on July 28. According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNMA.com, Papelbon spoke with reporters for “roughly nine minutes” this afternoon before a Nationals PR official cut off the interview. Not surprisingly, he didn’t hold anything back.
Here’s Papelbon’s response when he was asked whether he has any regrets about how he handled the end of his tenure with the Phillies:
“No, if I say something, I mean it. It feels from the heart. I’m not going to take anything back that I’ve ever said or did, because I believe that it’s right. I don’t know if I got a bad rap here or whatever, but I can promise you I was by far (from) the bad guy on this team. I was one of the few that wanted to actually win, and I was one of the few that competed and posted up every day. Other than that, that’s all I view an athlete or a baseball player. I don’t have any regrets, no.”
Yes, wanting to win was the Phillies’ issue, not an abject lack of talent. Papelbon eventually backtracked a bit, saying that it was an organizational approach. In other words, they are rebuilding. Papelbon seemingly referenced some brutally honest (and realistic) comments from Phillies CEO Pat Gillick last winter.
“I think the blame goes all the way from the front office all the way down to the bat boy. When you don’t have an organization that wants to win, it’s pretty evident and they go out and publicly say: ‘We’re not going to win.’ So, what more? You know what I mean?”
Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies in November of 2011. He posted a 2.31 ERA and 123 saves during his time in Philadelphia and made two All-Star teams.