Asked by Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com if he’ll be disappointed if he isn’t traded to a contending team this year, Jonathan Papelbon replied, “Yeah, I will be, if we continue to lose.” Papelbon again voiced a preference to win with the Phillies, stating that “there’s no better reward than that,” though clearly that isn’t looking likely, as the Phils are off to a 5-11 start with a -33 run differential. More than anything, it seems that Papelbon wants to avoid a season full of trade rumors without a deal coming to fruition. “I will be disappointed if this continues to happen,” said Papelbon. “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.”
In more Papelbon/Phillies-related news…
- Salisbury’s colleague, Corey Seidman, feels that the league has undervalued Papelbon recently due to his abrasive personality, his contract and his diminished velocity. However, as Seidman notes, Papelbon has been working with diminished velocity dating back to Opening Day 2014, and he’s still pitching excellently, throwing an increased amount of sliders and effectively working the corners of the strike zone more than in previous years. Seidman speculatively lists the Blue Jays, Tigers and Nationals as fits for Papelbon. He also runs down the number of struggling, injured or already-replaced closers in the league just 16 days into the season, using that as evidence to suggest that further openings will surface this summer.
- The Phillies announced this morning that Chad Billingsley will continue a rehab assignment tomorrow night with Triple-A Lehigh Valley as he works toward his Phillies debut. To this point, Billingsley has allowed three runs on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings at Triple-A as he builds his pitch count and gets re-acclimated with pitching in game situations.
- Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News spoke with Dustin McGowan following yesterday’s spot start, and McGowan says he’s not sure if he’ll be asked to start again following an outing with mixed results. As Lawrence notes, McGowan did well, given the circumstances. He fired three scoreless innings to open the game after being given less than 24 hours notice that he’d be starting, but fell apart in the fourth inning. That, perhaps, should not have been unexpected, as he hadn’t thrown more than 28 pitches in a game since last May. Manager Ryne Sandberg told Lawrence that the Phillies didn’t consider promoting one of their younger arms to fill the short-term spot in the starting rotation. Billingsley, he notes, may be ready to join the club by May 8-10, but he has another two weeks remaining on his rehab assignment.