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Sox open to trading Papelbon this spring and this summer

Jan 23, 2011, 5:02 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners Getty Images

The Red Sox signed closer Jonathan Papelbon to a one-year contract last week that will grant him a $12 million salary in 2011. But there’s a chance he won’t be in Boston for the entire year.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are open to trade offers for the 30-year-old now, will be open to trade offers during spring training and will probably listen to trade offers during the regular season as well.

Papelbon posted a relatively pedestrian 3.90 ERA and 1.27 WHIP across 67 innings in 2010, blowing eight saves in 45 chances.  The Red Sox have two internal replacements in Daniel Bard and Bobby Jenks, and they’d certainly love to get rid of Paps’ monstrous salary commitment.

A trade is going to be incredibly difficult, of course.  Papelbon probably isn’t an elite reliever anymore and few teams are going to be willing to take on all of his remaining money.  But Boston could eat part of it and try to force something in a kind of salary dump.  They won’t get much young talent in return.

  1. uyf1950 - Jan 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Take it to the bank he’s gone by the trade deadline if not sooner. If Boston wants to move him earlier they will probably have to eat $5 to $7M of the contract he just signed.

  2. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 23, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    If they don’t want him around, why didn’t they just non-tender him?!

    I can only assume it’s because they didn’t want the Yankees to land him as their overpaid setup man?

    • uyf1950 - Jan 23, 2011 at 7:40 PM

      Non tendering him would have meant they would have gotten nothing when he left. This way at least they get a player or 2 as trade consideration (probably lower level prospects). So it cost them a few million dollars if they have to eat a portion of his salary they can afford it.

      • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 23, 2011 at 9:01 PM

        I suppose, when you’re the Red Sox you can get away with that kind of investment.

        It’s tough to wrap your mind around that kind of financial freedom as a long-time Twins fan.

    • JBerardi - Jan 23, 2011 at 7:49 PM

      The Red Sox don’t just give players away. And it’s not like Papelbon is ruining the team, he’s just not a good value anymore. So yeah, they’ll be looking to trade him, but it’s not an imperative that they do so.

  3. frankvzappa - Jan 23, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    this news makes me want to do that irish jig that papelbum was dancing after winning the championship

  4. Ari Collins - Jan 23, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    As some have said above, he’s not cheap, but he’s not bad either. He was pretty unlucky last year, and while he’s not a sub-1 ERA guy anymore, he’s not really a 4 ERA guy either. Seems like it makes sense for Boston to hold onto him as long as he’s a useful (if overpaid) arm. And if he’s not useful, they probably won’t trade him either.

    • phukyouk - Jan 23, 2011 at 8:19 PM

      Going on record saying that i would not trade Joba for him. seriously. most OVERRATED closer in the history of ever

      • pisano - Jan 23, 2011 at 8:29 PM

        While I agree with you about Papelbum being overrated I don’t know about taking Joba over him, I think they’re both eating out of the same trough.

      • quintjs - Jan 23, 2011 at 8:31 PM

        This makes no sense to me. When he started he was lights out, especially in the postseason. He was a top closer in the game. Over the last few years his stuff has diminished, control especially and now he is average to above average and everyone knows it.

        He isn’t a lights out closer anymore but he is still useful and that is why Boston have kept him. You don’t just throw away a decent reliever even if they are overpaid. Remember when Boston had to make the decision to tender him a contract they didn’t exactly have a good bullpen.

        I don’t think anyone anywhere things Papelbon is a among the top 5 closers in the game at the moment, especially not Red Sox fans.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 23, 2011 at 8:26 PM

      Ari – the only way the Sox consider not trading him before the beginning of the 2012 season is if he has a sensational 2011 and I’m not sure even that would be good enough for the Sox to keep him. Because he’s a FA after the 2011 season they won’t offer him arbitration and pay him anywhere between $14 and 15M in 2012. Especially since Bard is the heir apparent to the closer position anyway and will only cost the Sox about $750,000 by 2012. Like I said earlier, he’s gone sometime before the end of the 2011 season. Take it to the bank.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2011 at 8:15 AM

        They’ll let him walk at the end of the year, but they won’t hurt their bullpen by trading him. Honestly, when is the last time a contender traded a good reliever? Even if he’s overpaid? And if he is NOT a good reliever next year, there’s especially no way they trade him.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 24, 2011 at 8:52 AM

        Ari, my friend I guess we will just have to wait and see which one of us is right. If I’m right he’s gone at or by the trade deadline, while he still has some trade value. If you’re correct he’s with the Sox for the entire 2011 season and either walks away prior to the 2012 season in which case the Sox get nothing for him or he comes back in 2012 signed as a FA for at least $14 or $15M for one season, $25M+ if it’s a 2 year deal. I honestly can’t see any way the Red Sox resign him especially when they have a closer in waiting (Bard) and Jenks signed through 2012 at $6M per and Wheeler with a club option for 2012 $3M. Bard is more then a adequate replacement as a closer and Jenks and Wheeler capable of setting up and relieving from the 7th inning on.

  5. pisano - Jan 23, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Sure their open to trading him this spring, because the more they use him the more his stock will drop. Bard is their closer to be anyway. The problem for the Sox will be what they think they’ll get for him. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  6. uyf1950 - Jan 23, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    I have a suggestion for the Red Sox. Swap Papelbon and $5M to the Rays for the newly signed Damon and “Manny being Manny” and call it square. Tampa Bay needs a closer and the Sox can welcome back 2 former members of their 2004 championship team.

    • mtner77 - Jan 24, 2011 at 2:57 AM


      Are you still THAT bitter about 2004?? Wow.

      Most here think of you as a reasonable poster, but you are beginning to be confused with “phukyouk”. Now THERE is reasonable guy.

      I am neither a Red Sox fan or a Yankee’s fan. I hate BOTH, EQUALLY! (As most real MLB fan’s do). But is not that a bit over the top?

      It is comments like this (and ALL of phukyouk’s) that make most people dislike the Yankee’s.

      See ya in the post-season. OR NOT! (I would hope that BOTH Toronto and Baltimore make the post season from the AL East. But, money being money, that is not going to happen).

      In my HO, Yankee’s fans might want to worry a bit more about their starting rotation, and a bit less about dissing their rival who, on paper at least, is far better then they are.

      It is funny. It may well be that this is the one time in history you can say that these Yankee’s are NOT the best team that money can buy!

      But to yell at sox fan’s about 2004….. In 2011? Poor. Very poor.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 24, 2011 at 4:49 AM

        Apparently you didn’t read my post in reply to patpatriotrules below. But that’s alright because as you said in one of your earlier post on another subject and I’m para-phasing your exact comment but it went something like “…it’s a rule of mine never to agree with anything a Yankee fan says…”
        Just for the record, I prefer to concentrate on the more positive aspects/results of the Yankees in their battles with the Red Sox over the years. For example: Bucky Dents tie breaking home run in the sudden death playoff game against the Red Sox in in 1978 in Fenway Park or Aaron Boone’s 11th inning home run in the 7th game of the 2003 ALCS. Where the Yankees came back from a 5-2 deficit to tie the game with 3 runs in the 8th inning and then go on to win the game on Aaron Boone’s 11th inning home run.
        There is no reason for me to be bitter about something that happened 6 years ago and is for all practical terms one example of only a few over the decades that any of the Red Sox or their fans can point to them besting the Yankees. The Red Sox are to be commended for not quitting during that series when they easily could have.
        My philosophy as a Yankee fan is “win a lot, lose a few”, 2004 was one of the few, my friend.

      • phukyouk - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:55 AM

        You’re a Mets fan, arent you?
        either way my statements for the most part are fact or at the very least the opinion of most Yankees fans. but hey.. Hate away. its your right.

  7. patpatriotrules - Jan 23, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    Hey uyf1950…i hope you are being sarcastic , because if not…that is the stupidest comment ever made about the Red Sox & Baseball in general

    • uyf1950 - Jan 23, 2011 at 10:09 PM

      Actually I was trying to interject a little humor into the blog more so then sarcasm. I didn’t think anyone would take the comment as anything more than a joke. Sorry if you read more into it then was intended.

  8. spudchukar - Jan 23, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    I’m neither a Papelbon nor Red Sox fan, but hearing trade talk, three weeks before I report to Spring Training wouldn’t endear me to the management.

  9. 1historian - Jan 23, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    I remember a few seasons ago this guy was the 2nd coming, now he’s not.

    As an old coot I remember all the way back to around 1950 when Robin Roberts of the Phillies had something like 20 straight complete games.

    • BC - Jan 24, 2011 at 10:10 AM

      Warren Spahn had something ridiculous, like 31 complete games one year.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 24, 2011 at 10:25 AM

        Actually 1historian it was 28 in a row over 2 seasons I believe.
        Bob Feller had 36 in 1946 not in a row though. Sorry to say that was before my time. Catfish Hunter threw 30 in 1975 for the Yankees, again not in a row though. That I’m happy to say was not before my time, not by a long shot.

      • BC - Jan 24, 2011 at 11:08 AM

        (Had to look it up – would have bothered me all day)
        Spahn had 10 seasons with 20+ complete games. Highest was 26. Could have sworn he topped 30 once. Oh well. My bad.

  10. rebeljpl - Jan 24, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    I wonder if Texas would be a realistic landing spot… They continue to chew over the idea of moving neftali to the starting rotation. They’ve also shown they aren’t too afraid spend money. I doubt it goes down, but it could be interesting.

  11. jfk69 - Jan 24, 2011 at 5:47 AM

    Greedy Boston paying Papelbon 12 million hoping to unload him will end up eating at least half that 12 million and end up getting some scrubs in return. Loos like something Cashman would do.

  12. dan1111 - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    Maybe Papelbon is overrated in some circles, but he is underrated in this one. He had four seasons as one of the most dominant closers in the game, followed by one decent season. Given the sample-size issues with relievers, 2010 should not be weighed so heavily as it is here. Will he return to his former level? Maybe not, but it is silly to assume that he is somehow washed up.

    If the Sox want to trade him, they will most likely get something valuable in return. Plenty of teams are willing to overpay even a mediocre closer. Papelbon has a track record that is much better than mediocre. As long as he looks decent and racks up some saves at the beginning of 2011, there will be plenty of interest.

    The idea of just releasing him has been floated a couple of times. But this makes no sense. Even in the worst-case scenario of Papelbon completely collapsing, the Sox will get draft picks for letting him walk at the end of the season.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:30 AM

      Dan, there are problems with your theory. Yes he was a good perhaps a very very good closer for the years prior to 2010 and your right it is a short period to judge a persons career. But if you look closer at his numbers they have been getting worse over the past 3 years. His SO to BB ration is up, blown saves are up, ERA is up, HR’s allowed are up, etc… Most closers have a short career Papelbon may well be one of those, very few are good over the long haul. Also, keep in mind Papelbon’s salary not only in 2011 but what it is likely to be come 2012 and beyond. Very, very, very few teams are willing to pay that much for a closer. You need look no further then the trouble Soriano had getting a contract this year. Add on top of that, that if the Sox do keep him through the 2011 season and he walks even if they offer him arbitration and he declines that will make it even harder for him to get a contract and harder for the Sox to get any compensation for him. Again look no further then Soriano this year if not for the Yankees he might still be on the market. A team looking to sign Papelbon would have to pay a substantial amount of money in salary and give up a draft choice at this point Papelbon isn’t worth it. My guess and it’s just my opinion Papelbon’s value to the Sox as a trade chip will never be higher then come the trade deadline and then only as a “rental” to whichever team is interested in him, and if a team is looking to “rent” a reliever/closer they are not going to give up much to the team selling.

      • dan1111 - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:03 PM

        I agree that there are reasons to be concerned about Papelbon’s future performance. His peripheral numbers have declined. However, they don’t look to me like numbers that indicate a collapse. He still struck out over 10 per nine innings last season.

        As for what he would bring in a trade, time will tell. Maybe you are right. But I still think that someone will be willing to pay up.

  13. BC - Jan 24, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    If Boston somehow tanks, why wouldn’t Philly grab Crapelbon at the deadline? Rent him for a year. Heck, he’s still miles better than Lidge.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 24, 2011 at 11:17 AM

      From everything most Philly fans have posted on these sites. The Phillies budget is very, very tight. Even as a rental for part of 2011 it’s still several million dollars they would have to commit to plus whatever the Sox would want prospects, or something else like a ML ready player. While I’m not ready to just hand the AL championship to the Sox before a single game has been played I think “tank” might be a bit of a stretch. Barring something unforeseen the chances of the Sox missing the playoffs are slim. If that’s the case you wouldn’t necessarily what to trade “Crapelbon” as you call him to what you believe is your main competition for winning the world series title. But who knows, anythings possible.

  14. pogodog7 - Jan 25, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    There is a rumor in Baltimore that they want to deal Nick Markakis and Felix Pie for Paps and Ellsbury. Baltimore will not need for Boston to pay Paps.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:53 AM

      Seems like a good deal for the Red Sox not such a good deal for Baltimore.

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