PHILADELPHIA — Four years later, Jonathan Papelbon’s heart remains in Boston.
Papelbon is in the midst of his fourth season with the Phillies after spending his first seven major league campaigns with the Red Sox. The 34-year-old closer still is adjusting to life in Philadelphia, as the transition hasn’t been quite as smooth as he perhaps anticipated upon signing a four-year, $50 million contract following the 2011 season.
“The Red Sox are a part of who I am, man,” Papelbon told The Boston Globe before Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park. “I don’t really feel much like a Phillie.
“Boston’s where I was born and raised. It’s kind of like that, you know. It’s the city you were born and raised in.”
Papelbon has remained effective with the Phillies, posting a 2.45 ERA over 197 appearances spanning 198 innings before this season. He saved 39 games in 2014 despite his velocity dropping and questions surfacing about whether he’d remain with the organization over the offseason.
But, as Papelbon alluded to, it hasn’t exactly been a match made in heaven. The five-time All-Star has been in hot water several times over the last few seasons. He even received some boos during the Phillies’ player introductions on Opening Day.
And it doesn’t help the Phillies so far have been a mess throughout his entire tenure.
“It’s been a tough transition over here,” Papelbon told The Globe. “I’m not going to lie. It’s been tough. Tough getting used to the way it is here. It’s two totally different organizations.
“The way they’re ran, the way they’re coached, the players that are on them. Two totally different styles of baseball. I don’t know if I can honestly tell you if I’m even used to it yet.”
Papelbon might never get used to life in the City of Brotherly Love, as he’s been the subject of trade rumors for a while and could find himself shipped out of town before long.
You can bet Papelbon wouldn’t mind shipping back up to Boston, as unlikely as it seems.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images