Sunday, December 28, 2014

Ruben Amaro Jr. has no qualms with Jonathan Papelbon comments

The Phillies general manager said he did not interpret Jonathan Papelbon's comments as negative toward the organization.

Ruben Amaro Jr. has no qualms with Jonathan Papelbon comments

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images file photo)
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images file photo)

MILWAUKEE — There were three weeks until the July 31 trade deadline when Ruben Amaro Jr. grabbed a pack of jalapeno sunflower seeds Thursday afternoon and found a spot on the wooden dugout bench. This was a moment for more reality.

Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies' closer, made it clear Wednesday night he would welcome a trade to a contender. "I think that's a no-brainer," Papelbon said. A day later, his boss agreed.

"He never expressed to me that he's been unhappy," Amaro said. "Why wouldn't players want to play on a contending team? It's really rather simple."

Cole Hamels, the team's $144 million ace and a possible — but unlikely — trade chip, sauntered by Amaro in the dugout.

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"He wants to play on a winning team," Amaro said, pointing to Hamels. "Why wouldn't he?"

The Phillies general manager said he did not interpret Papelbon's comments as negative toward the organization. They were, in effect, a moment of honesty that is uncommon among professional athletes in Papelbon's position.

Amaro, when asked if he would honor Papelbon's wishes, declined to answer. The closer has not demanded a trade. And Amaro would not say whether teams have expressed interest in Papelbon. The Phillies will have to pay a majority of the $19 million owed to Papelbon in a trade, which is an expected conclusion at this point.

Papelbon has a 1.24 ERA with 22 saves in 24 opportunities.

"He's been outstanding," Amaro said. "Is there anybody better right now. Stuff-wise there might be a guy better, but he's doing his job. He's been phenomenal. He's been outstanding for our kids in the bullpen; I mean he's been really good with them back there. That means a lot."


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