After what Jonathan Papelbon deemed a communication error between he and a reporter, the Red Sox closer tied up some loose ends on Monday afternoon with NESN’s Don Orsillo in regards to what appeared to be negative comments he made about the possibility of the Sox adding reliever Billy Wagner to the bullpen.
“Believe me, there’s nobody else on this team that wants that guy in
our bullpen more than me,” he told the Red Sox play-by-play announcer.
“He’s a competitor, and I see a lot
of myself in him. For me, having him down there in our bullpen is not
only going to make me better, it will make the rest of our bullpen
better. He’s going to bring a professionalism and competitiveness to
our bullpen that every bullpen could use. Believe me, I want this guy
more than anybody on our team.”
Wagner has 385 career saves but has missed the majority of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. With Francisco Rodriguez taking over the reins as the Mets closer, Wagner came back as the team’s setup man. Last week, news broke that the Mets were placing Wagner on waivers and that the Red Sox had made a claim on the 38-year-old lefty.
Papelbon, the team’s closer since 2006, sounded as though he and the bullpen didn’t want or need Wagner, saying, “What has he done? Has he pitched this year? Is he ready to pitch or is he not? … I think
our bullpen is good where we’re at right now. Don’t get me wrong. But I guess
you could always make it better. It’s kind of like the [Eric]
Gagne thing, I guess.”
Prior to Boston’s first game of a four-game set with Chicago, the 28-year-old cleared the air, saying he is all for bringing Wagner aboard.
“There’s a lot of loyalty in our bullpen,” Papelbon said. “There’s no question about that, but at the same time, bringing in a guy like Billy Wagner is going to make our bullpen better. What I said really was posing a question about the guy. I don’t follow anybody else but our team so I was asking a reporter kind of just basically for my own good, ‘What has he done this year? Is he healthy? Can he come help our team?’ Cause if he can, we want him.”