Papelbon sees need for improvement
DETROIT -- Jonathan Papelbon had only a couple minutes to talk Sunday morning at Comerica Park, but he said plenty, expressing the need for changes in the organization if things do not improve on the field.
Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million contract in November 2011, but he has known mostly losing at this point in Philadelphia. The Phillies returned home after a 12-4 loss to the Tigers riding an eight-game losing streak and a season-high seven games under .500.
"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."
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., declined comment.
In 2011, the Red Sox entered September in first place in the American League East, but finished 7-20 to miss the postseason. The club and manager Terry Francona parted ways following the season, and general manager Theo Epstein also departed.
Players soon followed.
That included Papelbon.
"That's part of it," he said about Boston's decision not to bring him back. "That's part of the business. If you want to go in a different direction and I'm not a piece of that puzzle, so be it. This is a job. There are no feelings in this game. I left. Carl [Crawford] left. [Josh] Beckett left. Adrian [Gonzalez] left. Now look at them."
The Red Sox had the second-best record in the AL entering Sunday.
Asked after the game if he wants to be traded, Papelbon said, "No, I would like to stay here. But if I'm going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don't want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?"
The Phillies are open to trading Papelbon, although Amaro does not have an option to replace him internally. But there does not seem to be much interest in him at the moment. Joaquin Benoit has been effective closing for the Tigers, and Koji Uehara has been even more impressive closing games for the Red Sox.
Papelbon is 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA and 20 saves in 25 opportunities.
"If I don't do my job right, they're going to find somebody else," he said. "How is that different than the rest of the organization?"