Jonathan Papelbon gave an interview to Jody McDonald on Sirius XM Radio the other day and was asked about the possibility of leaving the Red Sox as a free agent after the 2011 season. Pap was pretty straightforward, and didn't dismiss that from happening, or even going to the Bronx.
So naturally, many people naturally assumed that Papelbon was really saying he wanted to leave the Red Sox and play for the Yankees. And yesterday he backtracked and said he didn't want to play for the Evil Empire.
Papelbon had no cause to back track. I understood exactly what he meant. If he and the Sox can't reach a deal by the end of 2011, he will explore all options, from anywhere (including That Place). And to me, that's fine. It was Papelbon being honest, and I take my hat off to him for that. He's not a BS artist like Johnny Damon, who came out in May 2005 (his final year with the Red Sox) and said he would never sign with the Yankees, "no matter how hard they come after me."
The Red Sox have been quite successful this decade by sticking to their guns and going forward and not relying on sentimentality. If they and Pap can't reach a common ground, both parties will part company. So be it. (But I would bet they will reach a deal somewhere down the road.)
There's no controversy here. Today's NY Post, who never gets anything wrong, has a picture in their paper today of Papelbon's face on Joba Chamberlain's body with an article about how "Sox Closer Would Consider Yanks." However, they are only a day late on this story, with no mention of Pap's backtrack from Friday. (And for some reason, they have a picture of just Chamberlain in the online photo, without Pap's face.)
A totally manufactured controversy. No wonder why the media is held in such contempt today.