And if losing is the alternative, Papelbon is ready to pack his bags.
"I definitely didn't come here for this," the Phillies' closer told MLB.com.
Philadelphia lost its eighth straight game Sunday, a 12-4 rout at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, dropping the Phillies to a season-worst seven games below .500.
The frustration is becoming more palpable as losses mount, trade rumors swirl about the team and playoff hopes fade away.
Papelbon has been among the Phillies bandied about as a potential trade chip as Wednesday's deadline approaches. He signed a four-year, $50 million deal in 2011 and is 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA and 20 saves in 25 opportunities this season.
Yet he does not want to be moved -- unless the Phillies continue their losing ways.
"No, I would like to stay here," Papelbon said. "But if I'm going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don't want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?"
Ironically, a blueprint that intrigues Papelbon is the one used by the Red Sox -- his former team. Two years ago they entered September as the leaders of the AL East, only to miss the playoffs after a late 7-20 swoon.
Sweeping changes followed as manager Terry Francona was not retained and general manager Theo Epstein left.
After that, several key players -- Papelbon among them -- were not brought back as the Red Sox went through a makeover. Included in the purge were expensive yet underachieving players, such as Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez in last year's blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Red Sox now? They have the best record in the American League.
"It's going to take, in my opinion, a lot," Papelbon said. "And in my opinion, I think it's going to have to be something very similar to what the Red Sox went through a couple years ago. From top to bottom."
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. declined comment to MLB.com about Papelbon or a potential makeover.
"That's part of it. That's part of the business," Papelbon said of player turnover. "If you want to go in a different direction and I'm not a piece of that puzzle, so be it. This is a job. There are no feelings in this game. I left [Boston]. Carl left. Josh left. Adrian left. Now look at them."