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Papelbon Back To Pen

It's not a trade rumor, but it's somewhat related.  According to ESPN's Erin Andrews, the Red Sox are expected to announce Jonathan Papelbon's return to the closer role today.  Somewhere, Joel Pineiro just shed a tear.  Papelbon hopes to become the next Mariano Rivera.

My guess is that the Sox will use a stopgap solution in the fifth starter spot until Jon Lester is ready, perhaps by late April.  Personally, I like the decision.  Baseball Prospectus's Nate Silver summed it up well:

"I understand full well that a great starter is more valuable than a great reliever. But in Papelbon’s case, the risk is too high to justify the reward."

Curt Schilling discusses the transition at his blog.  Check out the fantasy ramifications over at RotoAuthority.


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Typical Red Sox smoke and mirrors "see, we fooled you" bullshit. They really treat fans like they are children.

When they shred up the shoulder of Papelbon, one of the best young arms in the game, because Theo wouldn't trade Hansen, Delcarmen and the other wonder prospects for a legit closer maybe they'll learn that trading a couple of emerging prospects isn't such a terrible idea.

Papelbon deserves to be in the rotation. The guy has lights out stuff and it's better for his shoulder (which has already had him shut down in his first season) to have the rest.

And don't give me the Sox are going to trade for a closer at the break and put Papelbon back in the rotation. If his numbers are even close to last seasons all of Red Sox nation would castrate Theo if he replaced Paps with Linebrink or Lidge.

dude i think this is the best move for the club. ya he had problems late last year but he spent the off season strenthing his shoulder so i dont see this happening again but if it does then theyll have to put him back in the rotation for next year. Who wants to trade there top prospects for a player who isnt going to be used everyday(closer) all the good closers are for such high prices I LIKE THE MOVE

we'll see. as far as the red sox go its the best move the team could have made to fill the void in their bullpen. one possibility i haven't heard a lot about is paplebon bridging the gap until hansen is ready. if they can minimize his workload for the season and let hansen develop properly then they can move him back to the rotation next year and let hansen close

this is a terrible move for the sox. papelbon has too strong an arm to be wasted in the pen. is it good for the sox now? absolutely. is it good for fantasy baseball? absolutely. is it good for the future of this team? absolutely not. papelbon needs seasoning as a starter so that the red sox can see if he is a top of line starter or a middle of the road starter, at which point they can move him back to the bullpen if he is mediocre, because we know he is dominant in the pen...

unfortunately this is mostly due to the media craze in boston, if this was KC this never woudl have happened. I wish the people of boston would chill out on the closer. It coudl work itself out

boomshwa I think you've got the right idea. In no way do I think the team will have Pabelbon close forever, maybe not even for the rest of the this year. I've been against Papelbon going back to the 'pen for a while, but I can understand the logic to do this now.

This is basically the way it is: the Sox have much better options for the 5th rotation spot (Lester progressing much faster than the Sox expected, Tavarez doing better when stretched out, Kason Gabbard lighting the world on fire in Fort Myers) than they do for closer besides Papelbon (untested Piniero, ready-to-explode Donnelly, hurt Timlin, not ready Hansen and Bryce Cox). Right now this is the best move for the team in the short-term.

There's no doubt Paps has more value as a pitcher over the long haul as a starter, but right now he's far and away the best option at the end of games. I think you'll see Tito and John Farrell really limit the workload of Papelbon to start the year, maybe use Piniero or Timlin (when healthy) for a spot save here or there in April. I think Tavarez will hold down the #5 spot until Lester has a few starts under his belt in Pawtucket, then Lester will take over and we'll see where it goes from there.

I think ultimately Papelbon will end the year as a starter and either Hansen or Cox will step up and be closer for the future.

mattador, I have to disagree with you about the media craze creating the decision. Unlike previous Sox regimes, Theo and Co. are pretty good about not getting caught up in what the media and fans clamor for in making their choices. Theo traded away one of the most popular players in team history and the Sox ended up winning a World Series. Then he let go of much of that aging group.

BTW - Papelbon just came into the game vs. the Phils and immediately began his outing by pitching from the stretch. He's definitely getting ready to be a closer again.

If you actually think the Sox are going to pull Paps from the closer role later in the season and put him in the rotation, you're being foolish. The games only get more important and count more as the season goes on. Not to mention, the adjustment to go from closing games during the season to starting games during the season is a huge one. That's why Smoltz clearly defined his role each season so he could prepare in the off season/spring training.

Paps is the closer for the season, unless he gets injured.

I will say that he's the best option on the team to close, but since I own him in a fantasy league I would rather keep him healthy than risk his shoulder to the rigors of closing that already injured him in his first season.

And do you actually think that if the Sox and the Yanks are neck and neck in the standings and are playing a 4 game set that Francona won't use Paps every night to nail the game down?

But I guess the big picture is it weakens the rotation, but strengthens a suspect pen.

They essentially just traded a starter for a closer with this move.

Well the rumor about the Red Sox asking about Jon Garland is starting to make sense

Personally I like this move.....room for Clemens in the Roation

Kramerica -- great point. The first thing I thought of when I heard this was they now have the slot open for Clemens. That and the fact that Clemens son said in an interview that he thinks it would be the storybook ending to his Dad's career to go back to Boston has me thinking Clemens might end up there and not in NY and Houston.

Good Move by the Sox.

and Erin Andrews is hot.

I love watching him come in for the 9th and making people look foolish, but I hate this move. Closers are overrated.

i don't think overrated is really the word. they're just overhyped by the media. teams need strong bullpens in today's game though.

why are a lot of the sox fans on this blog complaining about how it weakens their rotation? you still have schilling, dice-k, beckett, and wakefield. teams don't usually even need 5 starters for the first few weeks of the season, so you might get lester or clemens in the fold by the time you actually need another starter. the rotation isn't a big issue...especially with that offense they have

I think it does weaken the Sox rotation.

No one is sure what they are going to get from Schilling - is age going to catch up to him or is he going to perform well in a bid to land one more big contract? My gut instinct tells me he's not going to be the #1 same pitcher he has been in the past this season.

Beckett had an up and down season last year and even though there is tons of talk that he has his head on straight this spring, he still gave up a ton of HR's and had a high ERA. He can totally dominate the AL if he puts it all together, but I'm not sure he's ready to do that.

Wakefield is fine for the back of the rotation. His ERA will be high and some nights it'll be batting practice and some nights he'll shut down the other team for 5-6 innings.

Dice K, to me, looks like the surest thing in the Sox rotation, although there will always be a question mark above him this season to see how he deals with MLB lineups every 5 days. I actually think he'll be quite good.

With Paps in that rotation, it was sick and scary. I sincerely think he's a #1 starter.

Teams who know they can get to Schilling, Wakefield and Beckett are going to have a little more confidence than they would have with Paps (who tore everyone up last season) stepping in as a starter.

It's the right move for the bullpen (and the move I think they knew they would make all along) but the rotation isn't as lights out as it looked yesterday.

If they get Clemens back though, start the parade plans Boston.

Someone made a point about moving him back into the rotation was stupid because the games got more important - yes, which is why you need quality starters.

But you were right Dicky, its the transition mid-season going into the rotation that is hard and won't happen.

As a Sox fan, I still want Papelbon down the line in the rotation. In the offseason, they should ask him what role long term HE wants, forgetting the team, and sign a starter/closer to fill the other gap.

I think most of the reason he is going back is to help the team, that is why he couldn't sleep.

He is closing this year, all year, but give him the choice to continue at years end.

There is a bit dent in the Sox rotation, if they make the playoffs its no issue, but Wake/Tavarez to start the season, even the worst hitting teams are licking their lips.

They need to stop making Lester take baby steps and let him pitch, he is healthier now than he was when he started every 5th day last season, and plays an important part this year.

He needs to get back sooner rather than later. I have been upset at what the team has been doing to Lester, because if given the chance, he would have been ready by opening day like all the others. He wanted to be treated equally and was not.

"unfortunately this is mostly due to the media craze in boston, if this was KC this never woudl have happened. I wish the people of boston would chill out on the closer."

I wish the media and people in Boston would chill out PERIOD. They are so up their own asses with the "we suffered so much" and "we are the nation" bullshit.

I wonder...and this is just pure speculation, but did Theo not go out and a get a proven closer because he knew Papelbon would volunteer to go back to closing seeing the gaping hole he left in the bullpen.

If they ran out and got Linebrink or Cordero, Paps wouldn't have had to make this decision.

Knowing he's a good kid with a tremendous amount of pride, it's kind of obvious he would feel guilty with all the talk about there being no closer.

Theo, in essence, may have filled his biggest need on the team by doing nothing.

as a sox fan i was worried the bullpen was the biggest hole. the starting rotation was super solid. nnow the pen looks not so bad. and what do you really expect from a 5th starter? maybe 10 wins? Lester will be r4eady at least before june. he was solid in the starting rotation last summer. he has to watch his pitch count/walks. +hes a lefty last time i checked the sox were lacking a lefty starter to throw into the mix.

sox have lacked 3-4 things over the last few years bullpen, closer, second and short. hopefuilly with the addition of vets in the pen that wont force the young guys to be throw into the fire MDC hansen cox and so on. will benifit from a month or 2 down in AAA.

Paps in the pen is lights out thats where he wants to be give it to him


Playoff teams expect more than 10wins from a 5th starter beaminack, thats the problem.

Lester would be ready now if he wasn't being held back, he will be up before July.

I still think Papelbon is of most use this year to the Sox in the rotation. Why is a 5th starter far less valuable than a 1st starter? they start about the same amount of games, its based on the notion that having 5 'aces' isn't going to happen. If you look at some teams around, Tigers, LAA, LAD, Padres, they are getting closer, not 5 'aces' but 5 really good pitchers. Tavarez is not a really good pitcher, and Wakefield isn't above useful.

There is a real case this weakens the Red Sox.

I bet the red sox for not signing chan ho park when scott boras was advertisig him to the red sox during the dice-k negotiations. Not only is park a proven top of the line closer because of his 3 saves in the world baseball classic, he know could have gone back to his proven ace status in the rotation for the sox if he were on the team. Another poor move by the sox, as he would have been a bargain for five years at 65 million dollars, as he earned every penny in the previous five year contract he has signed. this is to go down as a slap in the face of the red sox organization, as they will fear the day they didnt sign the karate kicking flamethrowing korean.

Oh this is great. Not that I give a shit about this in real life, but I think my fantasy team just became substantially better.

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