Closer Jonathan Papelbon throws a pitch in the ninth inning of interleague play against the Tampa Bay Rays.
With three weeks to go until the trade deadline, there is plenty of reason for certain players to be on edge. With rumors and talk of trades swirling about, it's probably pretty tough to tune it all out as you cope with the thought of losing a teammate – or perhaps worse – being traded yourself.
So when Jonathan Papelbon opened up about the Cole Hamels trade, it was not at all surprising. Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:
“I don’t necessarily know if our clubhouse would take that too well. But, also, at the same time, everyone knows it’s a business. Sometimes things don’t go the way you think they should go because you don’t run the business; you work for the business. That’s it, man.”
Well...yes. Yes, of course the clubhouse won't be happy about that. First, if they traded Hamels, they'd get rid of their best pitcher. Sorry, Roy and Cliff, but Cole is officially your superior. He's younger, less prone to injury and the toll that age takes on a man, for all intents and purposes, is much handsomer. The student has become the teacher, and all that.
It doesn't matter that the Phillies are very near to going belly up on the season. It's still never fun to have to jettison a perfectly good part, especially if that guy has been with the team for his entire career and is good friends with most of the guys on the team. Think about it: Hamels has been teammates with Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino since day one. Lots of bonds and friendships form there, I'm sure, so to lose a guy like that - on top of your team losing on a consistent basis - has to be tough.
Even Papelbon, who has known Hamels for like 15 minutes, is upset about this. And Paps doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who gets misty at the thought of someone getting traded.
So, what does this tell you? Well, it tells you that not only will a Hamels trade hurt the Phillies on the scoreboard, but it will also hurt them in the clubhouse. Not that that has anything to do with anything, but a demoralized team probably isn't going to play too well, especially if they could be the next guys to get shown the door.
It's a cruel business, baseball. One day you're on top of the world, and the next day you're shining Bryce Harper's golden shoes. These are dark days for the Phillies, indeed.