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Papelbon, Red Sox avoid arbitration: $12 million

Jan 18, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT


In what could very well be his last year as the Red Sox’ closer Jonathan Papelbon has agreed to a $12 million contract for 2011, avoiding arbitration.

At least I guess it’s his last year. I and a lot of other folks were half-convinced that the Sox would non-tender Papelbon this winter, letting him take his chances as a free agent, rather than pay him eight figures.  Then, after signing Bobby Jenks — and because Bard is waiting in the wings — some folks thought that maybe Papelbon would lose his closer’s job.  He got the vote of confidence on that score almost as soon as Jenks signed: Papelbon is still the closer.

It’s a lot of money for a guy who has been going in the wrong direction the past couple of years. I wonder if Theo Epstein wouldn’t have saved a couple million bucks by taking Papelbon to arbitration and taking his chances. But it’s not like he’s become a bad pitcher, either, which is something that is easy to forget as tempers flare over the occasional blown save during the summer.

  1. phukyouk - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    and now we wait for all the Sox fans to tell us why this is a better deal than the Soriano deal.

    the picture of that guy up there. MOST OVERRATED CLOSER EVER!

    • marshmallowsnake - Jan 18, 2011 at 4:02 PM

      This is so much better than that Soriano deal!

    • JBerardi - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      Uhh, how is it NOT a better deal than the Soriano contract? It’s one year. Soriano’s isn’t. Case closed.

  2. BC - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Jeezus. $12mil? Why the heck just punt the dude and grab Soriano for the same or less cash? And especially with Bard ready to roll. I don’t get it.

  3. thinman61 - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:13 PM


    Not gonna get into comparisons between Paps closing and Soriano in a setup role, but I don’t think there’s any doubt the Sox are better off with Paps, Bard and Jenks in their bullpen than they would be with just two out of three.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:48 PM

      Well I’m sure you will find out in 2012 when he’s not eligible for arbitration any longer and he wants a long term contract. The question is would are the Sox better with Papelbon/Bard/Jenks then they would have been with Bard/Fuentes/Jenks at a lot less money? It takes a Boston fan to spin this award in a positive way. Instead of what it really is a waste of money. They could of had Fuentes for 2 years for the same amount of money.
      Anyone willing to bet that both Bard and Jenks get opportunities to close this coming year for the Sox? In fact I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Sox make Papelbon available at the trade deadline to “other” teams. So they can extract the most value for him. Rather then let him go in 2012 just for a draft choice. They have no intention of keeping Papelbon past 2011 at most. As phukyouk said most overrated closer of all time.

      • thinman61 - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:53 PM

        Yankee fans are now lecturing the rest of us about wasting money? Sorry dude, but that’s kinda rich. I certainly don’t harbor any illusions about this being a great contract, but the Sox can afford it and it’s only for a year, so why not.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 18, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        I’m not lecturing anyone. Just pointing out the reality of the deal. Turn abouts fair play. I know the Sox can afford it, as the Yankees can with their deals, but that doesn’t stop non Yankee fans including Red Sox fans from pointing out what they believe to be Yankee screw ups. I’m only pointing out that very same thing here.

  4. frankvzappa - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM


    • BC - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      Nice Nancy Kerrigan. Well done.

  5. rsnorth - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Once Mariano Rivera turned down the Red Sox contract offer, Boston offered arbitration to Papelbon. There wasn’t any question that it was going to cost somewhere around $12 for 2011. They couldn’t afford to let him walk and try to sign another closer. They’ve given Papelbon an incentive to have a great season to earn a new contract — somewhere — next year, while retaining Bard and Jenks as closer alternatives if Papelbon repeats his 2010 stats.

  6. thinman61 - Jan 18, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Per Ken Rosenthal, add Ellsbury to the list of players who won’t be going to arb hearing. One year, $2.4M, with some performance incentives.

    • bloodysock - Jan 18, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      Yep. Ellsbury agreed to 1 year and $2.4 million. Bonuses of $50K at 600 PA’s and another $50K at 700 PA’s.

  7. baseballisboring - Jan 18, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Pffffft yeah let’s see. Good closer for 1/12 or great set-up guy with lengthy injury history for 3/35…tough call! That’s not even the point anyway. Pap will be fine, Sox can afford to overpay by a few mil for one year.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 18, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      “…good closer for 1/$12” who had a 5-7 record with 8 blown saves and an ERA of 3.90 but I forgot wins/loses, blown saves and ERA aren’t how we judge a pitchers performance any longer versus a “…a great set up guy with a lengthy injury history for 3/$35M”. Who hasn’t missed any real time because of an injury in 2 full seasons. Who will not only set up but spell the greatest closer of all time in that role during the next 2 seasons and will in all likelihood assume the closer role in year 3 of his contract. But you’re right the money isn’t the issue both teams can afford the players they have signed.

      • phukyouk - Jan 18, 2011 at 4:41 PM


      • baseballisboring - Jan 18, 2011 at 5:20 PM

        Well, Pap also struck out over 10 per 9, had a 3.50 FIP and a slightly higher than normal HR/FB rate. He’s not what he was, but I’m not worried about him in 2011. After that, let him walk. And I’m sure Soriano will be fantastic in 2011. It’s the whole lucrative 3 year deal to a reliever thing that I’d worry about if I were a Yankees fan. To a degree anyway…again, both teams can afford to overpay.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 18, 2011 at 5:26 PM

        To baseballisboring – that’s why you’re not a Yankee fan.

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