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Phillies and Papelbon make it official: Four years, $50,000,058

Nov 14, 2011, 2:20 PM EDT

papelbon getty Getty Images

Jonathan Papelbon‘s four-year contract with the Phillies is now official, as the team announced the deal along with one little twist: He’ll get $50,000,058.

That extra 58 bucks matches his uniform number, which he’ll apparently be taking from new bullpen-mate Antonio Bastardo.

Papelbon’s contract also includes a $13 million option for 2016 that vests if he has 55 games finished in 2015 or a total of 100 games finished between 2014 and 2015. In other words, if he stays healthy and remains a closer it would become a five-year, $63 million deal. Wow.

Philadelphia gives up its first-round pick to sign Papelbon away from Boston, but the Phillies will likely get another team’s first-rounder (and a supplemental first-rounder) when Ryan Madson signs elsewhere.

  1. SmackSaw - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Holy crap!

  2. Alex K - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    5 years $66 million for a relief pitcher? EEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

    • dan1111 - Nov 15, 2011 at 3:08 AM

      While I don’t like the deal overall, I don’t think the vesting option is terrible. If he is still a good closer at the end of the deal, another year will be a pretty good deal for Philly. If not, this option won’t happen.

  3. Kevin S. - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    $95 million in 2013 committed to five players. Have fun not signing Cole Hamels, kiddies!

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM

      Actually I heard they offered Cole and Jimmy contracts.

      WordPress “blog” so take it for what it’s worth.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 15, 2011 at 4:55 AM

        Jonny 5 – Apparently this time of the year there are all sorts of rumors. This link would appear to contradict that Hamels has been offered a contract.

        Like you said take it for what it’s worth.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:50 PM

      BTW, this contract just takes the place of the contract of one Brad Lidge. Who was kind of worthless for 2 seasons as a closer.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:15 PM

        Except there are other escalating contracts that weren’t as high when Lidge was around. And Hamels will be making a lot more money than he was. The Phillies could more afford to pay that kind of money for a closer when Howard, Lee, and Hamels were all making a lot less money.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:58 PM

        Except in all fairness, nobody seems to know what the Phillies can and cannot afford to pay. You seem to be happy at the thought of them not being able to afford to sign Hamels now. What happens when they DO sign Hamels too? Will you be equally as sad?

        You are right, the Phillies have much more money to spend on active players than back when Lidge was signed. But I’d venture to say that they wouldn’t have signed this crazy deal for Papelbon if it would jeopardize a deal for Hamels.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:25 PM

        Given all the machinations they’ve gone through with Cliff Lee, I’d say that’s a pretty decent indication they’re at or near their spending limits. If they’re treating the tax threshold as a salary cap that would give them some wiggle room going forward, but that’s assuming it returns to its previous form (currently it does not exist at all). I guess I just don’t see why they’d trade Cliff Lee (and pay Joe Blanton the same money he would have made in 2010) because they didn’t think they could afford him going forward, and then heavily back-load his contract when they re-signed him last offseason to keep his 2011 salary down, if they didn’t have some kind of salary constraint they had to fit him under.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:47 PM

        That was in the past. Perhaps the notion of salary constraints has fallen by the wayside.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:33 PM

        If by “in the past” you mean “the last two offseasons,” then sure, but it’s not like they’re so far removed as to be irrelevant. Have the Phillies opened up new revenue streams since then that would justify us changing our expectations?

      • uyf1950 - Nov 15, 2011 at 5:47 AM

        Kevin S – I think what it means is that the Phillies Management realizes they probably have at most a 3 year window to capture as many NL and World Series Titles as possible. After that some of their stars will be getting long in the tooth and still collecting some major dollars and that window will have closed. So for a couple of years they stretch the budget. I said it earlier and I’ll say it again I really believe this deal they gave Papelbon will come back to bit them on the ass in future negotiations with players like Hamels. Take it to the bank whenever negotiations start with Hamles his agent already has a line drawn in the sand and in my opinion that line starts at 6 or 7 years/$20M per minimum. If the Phillies aren’t willing to pay it there are plenty of teams that will. Just my opinion.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:13 AM

        A better look at the Phillies finances guys. It looks like they won’t even need to stretch the budget to put a better team on the field in 2012 than in 2011.

        So there’s that.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 15, 2011 at 10:33 AM

        Jonny 5 – I come out to the Phillies spending just a little more in the upcoming year then the link you just posted $178M plus versus $175M but what $3M among friends certainly not enough to argue about.
        But really the problem with the Phillies payroll isn’t so much this year since one way or another they will be very close to what was the 2011 luxury tax threshold of $178M. The problem really magnifies itself come the 2013 season IF they want to resign Hamels.
        Come the 2013 season the Phillies will have $92.5M in committed salaries for just 5 players as it stands today (Howard, Lee, Utley, Halladay and Papelbon). Now assume they resign or want to resign Hamels that’s $20M added to that number. All of a sudden they have $112.5M committed to just 6 players. That does not include any for Rollins if they resign him to say a four year deal. Or compensation for players like Victorino who will be a FA in 2013 and Pence who will be a 4th year arbitration eligible player in 2013. Those 3 players alone (Rollins, Victorino and Pence if they sign all 3 for the 2013 season) could by themselves add about $32.5M to the 2013 payroll of the Phillies. That would or could bring the 2013 Phillies payroll up to about $145M for just 9 players. Assuming the luxury tax threshold stays at about $180M in the next year or 2 that would only leave the Phillies about $35 to sign 16 players. That’s not a lot of money left over.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 15, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        UYF, I’m sure that if they must stay under the threshold, which is a big “if” in my mind at this point, they will undoubtedly need to trade away some salary, even if that means eating some. But honestly I think the Phillies won’t mind exceeding the tax threshold for a couple of years as it A) won’t be by much and B) the taxing takes it easy on first time offenders.

        Unlike yourself I also anticipate the Luxury tax going up at it’s normal rate of 8 million per. I’m not really sure why you think it will flat line since there is very little indication that MLB thinks it should be lowered. I figure by 2013 it will be around 194 million. I think you’re a bit off with what you feel still fits under the threshold.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 15, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        Jonny 5 – I think the luxury tax threshold flattens out at no more than $182M. First of all there is no reason to increase it and certainly no reason to increase it substantially when in 2011 only 3 teams had payrolls over $160M (Red Sox, Phillies and Yankees) the 4th team the Angels had a payroll of about $140M. Second if it is increased anywhere near what you seem to think about $8M per year, in 3 years virtually no team will be paying the luxury tax and that includes probably the Yankee. Making the luxury tax ineffective.
        In any case we should find out pretty soon since everything I have read seems to indicate the CBA should be signed off on by both MLB and the Players Union in the next 2 weeks.

        BTW, I do agree with you that if the Phillies do exceed the $178M payroll figure for the 25 man active roster it won’t be by much. Unless I’m mistaken the luxury tax though is figured on the teams 40 man roster.

        Regardless, I wish the Phillies luck, I’m kind of disappointed the Yankees and Phillies didn’t get to meet in 2011 and pick up where they left off in 2009.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 15, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        uyf, Me too. I would love to see those two go at it again.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 15, 2011 at 12:20 PM

        Jonny 5 – BTW, here’s exactly how I see the 2012 Phillies payroll shaking out. There are obviously several assumptions in my calculations but I think they are all reasonable. The only things that can effect my total to any degree is what the Phillies do with Rollins and if the decide not to go after Cuddyer.
        Anyway here it is:
        PHILLIES 2012 Anticipated Team Payroll:
        $111.7M in Committed Salaries for 2012 according to Baseball Reference – That’s for 10 players (Howard, Lee, Utley, Halladay, Blanton, Victorino, Polanco, Ruiz, Contreras and Thome plus the buyout clauses of 2 players Lidge and Oswalt).
        $12.5M projected new contract for Papelbon per year. Brings the total to $124.2M.
        $25M Estimated for just Hamels and Pence the main 2 arbitration cases. That makes it for just 13 players approximately $149.2M +/-.
        $11M Estimated for resigning Rollins (or comparable player). That brings the total for just 14 players to about $160.2M +/-
        $11M Estimated for possibly signing Cuddyer. That brings the total to $171.2M for just 15 players.
        $8 to $10M Estimated because the Phillies still need to sign 10 players to fill out the 25 man active roster. Now most of those are 2nd time pre-arbitration and currently 2nd year arbitration cases on the Phillies roster. Using the lower total of $8M that brings the 25 man active roster for the Phillies for 2012 season. Brings the total to $179.2M to fill out the 25 man active roster.

        $179.2M Grand Total Estimated Phillies 2012 TOTAL PAYROLL. That’s with no substantial changes in their roster over 2011 in players other than the anticipated signing of Cuddyer. Now my math may be off a little but I think it’s relatively very close.
        Just my unbiased opinion but I don’t see a lot of wiggle room in the Phillies payroll for 2012 if they intend to stay around the luxury tax threshold. Mainly because I don’t see MLB/Players union agreeing to much of an annual increase in the luxury threshold for the 2012 season under the new CBA.
        As I’ve previously said I’m not sure but I believe the luxury tax is calculated on the teams 40 man roster not just the 25 man active roster.

    • mox19380 - Nov 15, 2011 at 9:24 AM

      that number is more like $126mill comitted to 11 players (with the pap and Thome signing)

  4. Travis Reitsma - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    The “58” seems so narcissistic. I wonder who’s idea that was. Cole Hamels may not be a Phillie that much longer.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      If you think signing a closer is paramount to signing Cole Hamels to the Phillies, then you’re crazy. About as crazy as this contract is I figure.

    • alang3131982 - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      It’s actually somewhat normal. Charlie Kerfeld did it (

  5. Francisco (FC) - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    if he stays healthy and remains a closer it would become a five-year, $63 million deal.

    And 58 bucks…

  6. missthemexpos - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Good thing Papelbon does not wear #99 on his jersey, would have set the Phillies back quite a few more bucks.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      WIN! That would have been the straw that broke the camels back I’m afraid…

      • kopy - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        More like HAMELS back, amirite?

  7. cusoman - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    “Philadelphia gives up its first-round pick to sign Papelbon away from Boston, but the Phillies will likely get another team’s first-rounder (and a supplemental first-rounder) when Ryan Madson signs elsewhere.”

    Which they will lose again if/when they sign Cuddyer.

    • normb11 - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      Actually I think they would lose their second round pick; not the one gained by losing Madson.

      • paperlions - Nov 14, 2011 at 4:36 PM

        This is correct…assuming the compensation rules are not changed in the new CBA. A team can’t lose it’s compensation picks, only its original picks.

  8. Francisco (FC) - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    option for 2016 that vests if he has 55 games finished in 2015 or a total of 100 games finished between 2014 and 2015.

    Well, if Papelbon does finish 100 games between both years it means he’s still dealing. If inflation continues at its current pace it may be that premium closers will be going for $15 MM or $16 MM a year by 2015 so $13 MM will seem like a bargain. Of course this is assuming the guy performs for the duration of his contract. If he turns out to be Tug McGraw 2.0 he’ll be worth it, if it’s Brad Lidge 2.0 they’ll regret it. Of course if it brings another WS to Philadelphia all will likely be forgiven…

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:11 PM

      A closer doesn’t bring a championship to anyone. Two years in a row we’ve seen the Phillies’ postseason problem is scoring runs, why not spend the big bucks to fix that first?

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:23 PM

        I don’t disagree however the reality is you will hear many folks forgive Lidge because his perfect 2008 helped win a WS. If Papelbon closes out another WS that will likely constitute as “bringing a ring”.

  9. thefalcon123 - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    The Phillies will be paying Papelbon *twice* as much per inning pitched as Roy Halladay.

    In 2013, the Phillies have already shelled out $93 million dollars, not counting a catcher, shortstop, third baseman, right fielder, left fielder, center fielder, 3 starting pitchers, a bullpen and a bench.

    You can pencil in several arbitration eligible guys, but having that much payroll to so few guys who will all be older than 33 seems pretty scary.

    • havlicekstoletheball - Nov 14, 2011 at 9:33 PM

      Here’s betting Papelbon has a lot more innings start with a walk, a single, and a 2-0 count on the third hitter than Halladay will ever have….

  10. uyf1950 - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Guys I’m not sure the Phillies just didn’t shoot themselves in the foot this this size contract to Papelbon. If anyone think that Hamels and is agent don’t draw a line in the sand when it come time to negotiate with the Phillies they are kidding themselves. When the talks between Hamels agent and the Phillies start whether it’s this year or next the starting point is going to be 7 years/$20M per. He’s younger and far more valuable to the team than a closer. It’s going to have a ripple down effect with all of their player negotiations, count on it.

  11. Francisco (FC) - Nov 14, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    All that’s left is for Papelbon to legally change his name to Cincocho. After all, can’t afford to one upped by the NFL amirite?

  12. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    I love Pap but I don’t think any Sox would have been happy to see management hand him a deal like this, especially given how well the last free agent megadeal worked out for the Sox. Still no idea what Philly is thinking. We just saw all the pitching in the world can’t win you games if the offense doesn’t score runs, adding a closer at this price doesn’t do much to solve their problems

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:25 PM

      While I agree the Phillies offense is in decline, you can’t make judgments about teams based upon a 5 game sample size. Learning lessons from the post season is kind of ridiculous…each year a team wins in a different form and fashion. The NLCS and ALCS were decided by bullpens. The World Series was decided by David Freese summoning the spirit of regular season Scott Rolen in his prime….and Nelson Cruz afraid to hit the wall.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:35 PM

        5 games may not be the best sample size, but the fact that the offense was so anemic two postseasons in a row makes me think their money would have been much better spent finding a way to ensure those problems don’t persist for a third year in a row

  13. dvs3876 - Nov 14, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    dear small market fan bases …..wanna make your team not so worthless……support ur team and sell out every single game so that your team can too make mad money and sign players every year……every one wants to take the time to talk shit about how they wont be able to sign hamels cause they signed other people except for your failing to realize that there not broke anymore because there fans support the team you can do the same just stop being fair weather fans and your team wont be shit anymore……haters

  14. delsj - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    When you give a thumbs up to a post stating that the Phils will not sign Hamels, is that jealousy or just wishful thinking? Run the numbers any way you want, there is no way the Phils let Hamels walk.

  15. mojosmagic - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    The Phils are the Yanks of the NL. Every game is a sell out and they give themselves a chance to win every year. Sure as hell beats being a Astos fan.

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