You can accuse Jonathan Papelbon of a lot of things, but being easily fooled is not one of them.
Even after the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers for the third straight time, Papelbon demanded to be traded. Papelbon is able to see the big picture that has so far eluded much of the top levels of the organization. He was around two weeks ago when the Phillies swept the Atlanta Braves on the road and knows the drill.
For all of the small successes the team has had this year, the big picture is that this is a losing ball club and Papelbon, who has been the consistent piece, understands that better than most.
The Phillies should grant Papelbon his wish for at least three reasons. One, they have a young fire baller, 100-MPH pitcher Ken Giles, ready to take his place. Two, there is no need for a premier closer on a last-place team. Three, this team needs to restock a barren farm system, and Papelbon could bring at least one and probably two players now at the Single or Double-A level who project into career 10-year major leaguers.
Papelbon has worked to regain his spot as one of the best five closers in all of baseball after a shaky 2013. He blew a save on opening day but has been 22-for-23 in save opportunities since and has a 1.24 ERA. He’s someone another team needs right now, not the Phillies.
If his not-so-subtle nudge on Wednesday night helped them realize that, he did both himself and the Phillies a big favor.