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Papelbon talks about comebacks and contracts

Feb 17, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

Papelbon 2.jpgA Jonathan Papelbon interview always presents the chance for some crazy. He’s just one of those guys who — refreshingly I might add — doesn’t always revert to platitudes.  Sadly, he was pretty straight up and lucid yesterday in an extensive interview with WEEI’s Alex Speier, talking about going year-to-year with the Sox, his role models and about bouncing back from getting beat up by the Angels in Game 3 of the ALDS:

By his own account, he replayed the video of that meltdown 100 times in
his home gym during the winter, using his unprecedented failure as a
tool to push him harder towards 2010.
 
“I was using it as motivation whenever I was feeling tired and weak in
the weight room,” Papelbon said on Tuesday afternoon at the Red Sox’
minor league training facility, shortly after his first bullpen session
of the new year. “I’d pop it on and say, ‘There’s still work to be
done.’”

Given that relief pitchers are supposed to have no memory, aren’t supposed to dwell on the past and all of that I find it interesting that he’d go back and watch that outing. Not that he can’t do whatever he needs to do to stay motivated. Other tidbits from the interview:

  • Papelbon thinks this slight falloff in 2009 was attributable to mechanical tweaks he made early in the season and that he straightened that out by the end of the year. There’s some evidence of that — his walk rate went down as the season progressed — but more worrisome was his over-reliance on his fastball, especially in the playoffs.  He says that was just a mental block on his part — he lost touch of his split finger and became loathe to throw it — and that it’s going to change this year;
  • Papelbon says people should not assume that he will be leave Boston when he is eligible to become a free agent and that, if he had his way, he’d stay in Boston for 15 years. Nice, but something tells me that Theo will be holding the door for him — or more specifically, his contract — when he hits the market.
  • One thing there was no mention of was Josh Daniel Bard [I have made that mistake approximately 246 times in the last year]. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a Papelbon interview in which he wasn’t asked about Bard — or baited to say something provocative, maybe — I was rather surprised.

All in all a pretty calm, rational and standard interview from Papelbon. Which, while kind of sad on some level, is probably exactly what Sox fans want to hear.

  1. BC - Feb 17, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    His contract up after 2010 or 2011? If it’s this year, and the Sox drop out of contention, unload him for whatever you can get, and make Bard the closer. Bard throws harder than anyone this side of Justin Verlander or a healthy Joel Zumaya.

  2. Jay - Feb 17, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Daniel Bard is the one you’re thinking about. Josh Bard is a catcher, now with the Mariners, I think.
    Gordon Edes was sure to mention Danny boy in his terrible article about Paps yesterday.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/mlb/columns/story?columnist=edes_gordon&id=4919488
    Learn the ways of Baahhston, Speier, or you’ll never make it in this town!

  3. Joey B - Feb 17, 2010 at 10:08 AM

    He’s likely gone. He’s been great for us, but there is no way that Theo shells out FA $$$ for Paps instead of minimum wage money and two draft picks by going with Bard.

  4. Ace - Feb 17, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    “One thing there was no mention of was Josh Bard.”
    To be fair, you could probably stick this line into every story you run. I mean heck, he’s just the Seattle Mariners’ minor league back-up catcher.

  5. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Feb 17, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    According to the article that Jay linked, he’s eligible for FA after the ’11 season. And not sure why Sox fans are so quick to annoint Bard as the closer of the future. 22BBs in 49IP is not a good mark for a closer.

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