The Philadelphia Phillies are currently in last place in the NL East through 38 games. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why Ryne Sandberg is unhappy with his closer.
After closing out two straight games this past weekend, Jonathan Papelbon declared himself unavailable for Sunday’s series finale against the New York Mets. The Phillies ended up losing the game, 5-4.
That scenario apparently didn’t sit well with Sandberg, who has since told the media, “Well, we need a closer that can go three games in a row and close three games. No question about that.”
Papelbon responded to his skipper by saying, “I wasn’t comfortable with throwing. I felt like it could create more injury. Instead of missing 30 or 40 or 50 games, I decided it would be best for my team and my career to maybe sit one out.”
So as you can see, shots have been fired from both sides in this case. Big deal? Not really, at least not right now anyway. You can bet that Papelbon won’t be bowing out of any third straight appearances in the near future. If he does, then this could become a much bigger deal.
Despite not being incredibly popular, Papelbon has closed out 11 straight games for the Phillies. He’s been holding up his end up the deal, and for now he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
But if the Phillies stay in last place and some other team calls them in need of bullpen help at deadline time, don’t be surprised to hear his team come up in trade rumors once again. They were there last year, and beef with the manager could certainly contribute to them being there again in 2014.