Jonathan Papelbon delivers NSFW rant on Phillies, Bryce Harper

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Papelbon delivers NSFW rant on Phillies, Harper originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Ahh, Jonathan Papelbon. I don’t know what the Phillies ever did to him, aside from pay him handsomely, but the team continues to live rent-free in his head, years after playing here.

The Phillies’ all-time saves leader (yes, still) was interviewed by gambling website betway to get his thoughts on the 2022 season, and some of his former teams. Papelbon took the gloves off when asked about the state of the Phillies, and his former Nationals teammate, Bryce Harper.

He started by saying the team lacks any kind of leadership in the clubhouse. Not sure how you can make that claim without actually being there. But he continued with his dressing-down of the franchise.

“It's always been kind of chaotic in Philadelphia, with the fans, with the players, with the front office. It's like a s**tshow there. And, for me, I see the s**tshow continuing. I mean, they fired their manager, what, two months into the season? As long as that stuff happens, Philadelphia will never win again. Philadelphia will never get back to the playoffs.”

“When they brought in me, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, everybody started getting hurt, and the sh**show began after that, I believe. It's been nothing but downhill for the Phillies since then, and there hasn't been anything even close to resembling a postseason team.”

Tell us how you really feel, Paps. It’s easy to throw shade at a franchise that went through a downturn following a half-decade of success. The team got older, the farm system didn’t develop enough talent to fill the subsequent holes, and so on. But to say the team lacks leadership, and to rip the current front office – one that he never played for – is a bit far afield, even for him.

Then he turned his attention to Harper, who was his teammate for a little more than a season with the Nationals, Papelbon’s final big league stop.

“I don't necessarily see him being a huge leader of the team, because he was never really a leader when I played with him. He kind of went about his own business and more was a me-guy or an I-guy, and wasn't really into what was happening in the clubhouse, and didn't have that pull for the team.”

Again, this smacks of sour grapes. Papelbon was traded to Washington in the summer of 2015, the season where Harper won his first NL MVP award. I’m not sure how you can be an unanimously-voted MVP and be considered selfish at the same time. Also consider that they were teammates when Harper was 22 and 23 years old. That was more than a half-decade ago. As anyone over 30 will tell you, those years are like dog years when you consider personal and professional growth. Harper’s likely a very different person now than he was in 2015.

When Papelbon got to the Nationals, he was every bit of 34. I would imagine a 34-year-old, even one new to his team, would be counted on more for leadership than a 22-year-old.

It’s also a bit difficult to believe the opinion of a guy who lost his mind on his own teammate less than two months into his time with his new team.

 

Yeah, this definitely looks like a guy who has a healthy, well-mannered disposition. It’s best to look elsewhere for in-depth baseball analysis than Papelbon, who comes off as a jilted ex.

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