Jonathan Papelbon: “I would have definitely entertained the decision to go to the Yankees if that was there, but obviously it wasn’t.”March 9, 2012 – 6:15 am by Steven Cuce
In the world of hypothetical questions, this one sure would have the fans going. Jonathan Papelbon, the former Red Sox closer who became a free agent during the off-season, wasn’t really sure as to why Boston never even offered him a deal. Papelbon was entertaining all options and despite the fact that over the years he may have tripped up by saying he would gladly close out the last All-Star Game in Yankees Stadium if given the opportunity, the closer who appeared to have hated the Evil Empire truly didn’t at all.
In fact, the Phillies closer sounded real open to the idea of becoming a Yankee if the offer was on the table to eventually succeed Mariano Rivera. Well in reality the Yankees have David Robertson and Rafael Soriano in line for that at this point and the Phillies showed the kind of interest that Papelbon wanted all along.
Jonathan Papelbon joined WIP in Philadelphia with Angelo Cataldi & The Morning Team to discuss the differences of being in spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies compared to the Boston Red Sox, the similarities/differences between Charlie Manuel and Terry Francona, entertaining the idea of succeeding Mariano Rivera if the New York Yankees offered him a free agent deal, why the Boston Red Sox never offered him a deal to come back and not pitching differently in the National League.
Is it a lot different being here than with the Boston Red Sox?
“You know it really is kind of different. You get accustom to your ways for so many years and for me I am just kind of trying to find my way here and find my way with my teammates and within the club, the coaching staff, etc. I think it is going pretty smooth so far for me and I am just excited to be here every day and see the guys work and I think when I come here every day and see work ethic with our team it kind of pushes me a little more.”
What kind of manager do you need to prosper?
“Well for me I don’t really need a manager that is dead this way or dead that way. I am my own coach. I guess I could put it any other words. I had to go out there and know who I am as a pitcher. I shouldn’t have to rely on my pitching coach or my manager to tell me what’s wrong or what I am doing right. I have to know that as a big league professional on my own. They are both [Charlie Manuel and Terry Francona] definitely similar for sure.”
If the Yankees had called you, you were a free agent. If they had called you and said Jonathan, Mariano Rivera has got another year that is all and we see you as the next guy. Is there any way you would have even entertained an overture from a team you hated that much?
“Well no question. It’s not that..you hate them [Yankees] when you play in between the lines. There’s a fine line here. That hate and that passion to beat them was in between the lines and that was it. I would have to say yes to that. I would have definitely entertained the decision to go to the Yankees if that was there, but obviously it wasn’t. For me being in Boston it was just a situation where the Red Sox didn’t really come at me the way I was expecting to come at me this off-season and I told my agents the first team that shows me interest and shows me loyalty I am going to show that right back to them and that was Philadelphia.”
Do you have an understanding now why the Red Sox didn’t make an offer to bring you back?
“No. Not really. I really don’t even care to be totally honest. I have turned that page and that chapter in my life. I honestly could not be happier. I have said this many of times that I think since 2005 in my rookie year I have not been this excited for spring training and this excited to get in the Philadelphia clubhouse and I have not been this excited to start the season. I am like a rookie all over again.”
Do you pitch any differently in the National League?
“No. I have been working on my slider over the past few year obviously and trying to get that to the best I can get it. I am still going to be same old pitcher. It’d be pointless for me to come here and try to do things that I am not comfortable doing.”