Papelbon named to NL All-Star pitching staff

Papelbon named to NL All-Star pitching staff

LOS ANGELES -- If the Phillies handle July the way everybody in baseball expects them to handle it, Jonathan Papelbon will make one of his final appearances in a Phillies uniform next week at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

Papelbon is the Phillies' lone All-Star, selected by National League manager Bruce Bochy based on strong numbers for a closer (1.65 ERA, 14 saves in 31 appearances entering Monday's series opener in Los Angeles) despite pitching for a team that entered play Monday winning only one-third of its games this season.

"I think every one of [the All-Star Game selections] is special," Papelbon said Monday about his sixth All-Star appearance. "I think the best part about this one is my kids are a little bit older. I'll be able to let them go … and let them experience it and let them kind of be able to remember it more. That will be pretty cool for me."

The Phillies are expected to trade Papelbon before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Depending on who is talking, either the Phillies are asking way too much for Papelbon or teams are trying to low-ball them. Either way, Papelbon hopes to be pitching for a contender by Aug. 1.

"I would be surprised," Papelbon said, asked about being with the Phillies next month. "Yeah, that would be a pretty valid answer."

Would he be disappointed?

"Yeah, yeah," he said. "I would say so."

Papelbon has a limited no-trade clause, but he reiterated it will not be an issue.

"Any team that wants me, I'm willing to go to," he said. "I just think, for me, there are no doors closed right now."

Except for teams that don't want him to close. Papelbon has no interest in being a setup man.

Papelbon has a $13 million club option for next season that automatically vests if he finishes 48 games this season. He already has finished 28, so he should reach that number. But Papelbon could require the option to be picked up to facilitate a trade. He only said his agents will handle that.

Papelbon's salary has been an issue in trade talks, although the Phillies have said they are willing to eat salary to get the right prospects in return.

"The front office knows where my heart is and where my mind is," Papelbon said. "And that's to be with a contending ballclub. The ball is in the Phillies' court, the front office's court, or I should say Andy MacPhail's court? I haven't had the opportunity to speak with Andy. I wish I could have. And I would still like to speak with him. But for some reason, that hasn't been made possible for me."

Of course, MacPhail isn't officially calling the shots yet. 

"Well, then [Phillies president Pat Gillick] knows where I stand and [senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.] knows exactly where I stand," he said. "I think everybody knows where I'm at. I've always been straightforward that I want to go play for a contender, and I'm not going to shy away from it. I feel like that's my right and my prerogative to have that opportunity, and, you know, it's in their hands. The ball's in their court. I guess that's kind of it."

Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League until 4 p.m. ET on Friday.

And the voting doesn't end there. During the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

The 86th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (coverage begins 7 p.m. ET), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.