Tuesday, September 2, 2014
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Papelbon wants to be traded to a contender

The Phillies won their third straight game over the best team in the National League, but their closer sees the bigger picture. They are a last-place team and he wants to be pitching for a contender before the July 31 trade deadline.

Papelbon wants to be traded to a contender

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon and catcher Cameron Rupp. (Morry Gash/AP)
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon and catcher Cameron Rupp. (Morry Gash/AP)

On Tuesday afternoon, Chase Utley sat in the dugout at Miller Park and talked about wanting to stay in a Phillies uniform after the trade deadline passes.

He re-signed with the Phillies 11 months ago. And even though they're headed for their third straight season out of the playoffs, and are likely headed for a last-place finish with more than 90 losses, he wants to stick around.

"I still have faith in this organization," Utley said. "We can turn it around and get back to the level we were once at."

Closer Jonathan Papelbon, who has spent considerably less time in Philadelphia than Utley, doesn't feel the same way. At all.

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"Some guys want to stay on a losing team?" Papelbon said after recording a save in the Phillies 4-1 win on Wednesday night in Milwaukee. "That's mind-boggling to me. I think that's a no-brainer (to want to leave and go to a contender)."

Papelbon could be a intriguing pickup for a contender in need of a closer (like Detroit, San Francisco, Baltimore and the Los Angeles Angels). He has postseason experience and is pitching well: a 1.24 ERA and 22-of-24 in save chances.

Papelbon, in the third year of a 4-year, $50 million deal, is owed a minimum of $19.5 million through the 2015 season, and that number is upped to $32.5 million through 2016 if he finishes 55 games next year or 100 games in 2014 and 2015.

But the Phillies would also be likely to pay down some of his salary - he’s under contract for next year, too - to adhere to his wishes, find him a new home and hopefully get a prospect or two back in return, too.

 Here is more from Papelbon's postgame chat with the media:

Q: The trade deadline is approaching: do you want to be wanted:

Papelbon: Of course, what kind of question is that?

Q: Well, some guys in here do want to stay...

Papelbon: Some guys want to stay on a losing team? That's mind-boggling to me. I think that's a no-brainer.

Q: So if a contender came calling, you'd be ready to go?

Papelbon: Yeah. [laughs]

Q: Do you hope a contender comes calling?

Papelbon: Yes and no. You know, I came here for a reason ... and I say that because I'm with a group of guys in the bullpen that can do very special things in the future. I've been waiting for that, you know what I mean. It's fun to be a part of that, it really is. We are there finally with our bullpen. So that aspect of it would kind of suck to leave. But at the same time, winning is the cure-alls of cure-alls.

Q: Does your gut tell you that you'll be here on July 31?

Papelbon: My gut hasn’t told me anything. I go day by day. Whatever happens, I cross that bridge when it … I don’t have that crystal eight-ball.

Q: You do have a partial no-trade clause. Would it be a hurdle?

Papelbon: [Shakes his head no].

Q: So it’s not going to be a hurdle?

Papelbon: [Shake his head no].

Q: Have you expressed that to people?

Papelbon: [Shakes his head no].

Q: So you would go to, say, Detroit?

Papelbon: [Nods his head yes].

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