Papelbon Hopes To Stay In Boston Long-Term

Jonathan Papelbon told reporters that he’s comfortable without a long-term deal even though he wants to be in Boston long after the Red Sox lose control of him following the 2011 season. As Alex Speier of notes, Papelbon can see himself closing games at Fenway for a while.

“Of course I would love to be with Boston for a long time,” Papelbon said. “But this is the way it is right now. I’m happy going one year at a time. I would love to stay here for 15 years.”

By then, Papelbon will be 44 years old, but he can envision himself pitching into his forties. And when it comes to closers succeeding late into their careers, Papelbon doesn’t have to look any further than 40-year-old division rival Mariano Rivera.

“Mo, he just makes it look easy. He makes it look easy,” Pabelbon said. “Hopefully I will be able to, but only time will tell.” 

Papelbon is under contract for $9.35MM this year. He says he didn’t ask the Red Sox about his place in their long-term plans this winter.

41 Responses to Papelbon Hopes To Stay In Boston Long-Term Leave a Reply

  1. 04Forever 5 years ago

    Papelbon has to suffer from some kind of split personality disorder. I can never quite put my finger on what exactly he wants. He wants to be the highest paid closer ever which contradicts his team values and he now says he wants to stay for 15 years, contradicting the money statement. I wish he would just shut up and pitch, and im a fan of him

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      It’s not contradictory when you consider it’s Boston we’re talking about.

      I’d love Papelbon to stay, he is still a top 5 closer. But I agree with the “shut up and pitch” statement. The problem is the fact that he’s good has gone to his head which sometimes makes him pitch different.

    • LOL couldn’t agree more. he’s gone tho man. I hate to admit it, but he’s long gone. Unless he’s willing to ink a 3/36 or 4/48 deal, or something along those lines (once again saying that the Sox believe he’s worth being a TOP 3 paid closer), he’s gone. There is no way that Theo gives him anything higher than 4/48… Pap will push for 6/92 or so and the Sox will tell him to have fun, round out the rest of the franchise, Pap will come back asking for 3/36 or 4/48, and the Sox will no longer have it in the budget. He will likely go the way of Johnny Damon with the Yankees, overestimating his value.

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      There isn’t any contradiction. Like everyone else, he has multiple priorities. He’s made it very clear which priority comes first.

    • I love watching when the personalities begin to shift. It’s the tide of whoever has the money. Notice: BoSox payroll ballons to around a possible 170mm this year and mysteriously Papsmear comes out and says he wants to play there for 15 years. Go figure.

  2. bbxxj 5 years ago

    If Papelbon was on a team with a smaller payroll then his fate would be tied with Bard’s (or another young closer type) development over the next two years. With Boston’s payroll they may just elect to keep their pen depth by keeping Papelbon in the closer role and not moving everyone else up a level.

    • IF (and thats a big IF) this was the case, the Sox would have put a package together for AGon. Only reason they haven’t yet is because they see Buchholz as a number 1 or 2 starter, and they see Bard as the successor to Pap. If they didn’t see things working exactly that way, they both would have been packaged together with Westmoreland and a mid level prospect in a deal for AGon, Halladay, or MCab. And any of the 3 teams would have been absolutely out of their mind to turn that down!

  3. Guest 5 years ago

    If his contract demands remain high for the coming years, The Red Sox may turn elsewhere but I’m sure they want to have him as long as he wants to stay with them.

  4. DarthVader87 5 years ago

    I think what Theo will do is run his dual closer plan once Bard is ready. It’s obvious he has been trying to do it for awhile. I mean with Gagne, Wagner, and Saito. He could throw them out so they don’t pitch consecutive days. That’s why I’ve been so skeptical about the trading Papelbon to move Bard into the closer role rumors. I don’t think either of them are going anywhere.

  5. John Gyna 5 years ago

    It seems he’s changed his stance on staying in Boston. Now, maybe he can change his facial expressions on the mound.

    • BoSoXaddict 5 years ago

      You don’t like the deliberate exhale and intense glare? I guarantee you every little league pitcher in New England tries to imitate his facial expressions haha

  6. I dislike him.

  7. the_show 5 years ago

    Funny personality but a good ballplayer

  8. BoSoXaddict 5 years ago

    I think there’s pretty much zero chance that Paps and the Sox work out a long-term deal over the next 2 seasons. I think most Sox fans would be open to it, but certainly not for the kind of $ Paps would ask for. I think most of us have accepted the fact that he’s gonna reach FA after 2011 and go to whoever offers the most money OR he gets traded at one of the next two deadlines for an impact bat and replaced by Bard. Either way, Bard is the future closer.

    • He wont get traded for the same reason the Sox won’t lock him up long term. There is no reason to give up much for a closer who wants a lot of money who is not under team control much longer. Unless the Angels suddenly pop out as a WS threat, Papelbon will finish his arbitration years a Red Sox member.

      However, after that I agree. I wouldn’t say 0 chance. But I would still not put it higher than 5% though I’d love to see Papelbon be a lifer just like Mariano.

      • BoSoXaddict 5 years ago

        I agree that he’s unlikely to be traded but he COULD be appealing at the deadline to a legit contender with bullpen issues..

  9. 0bsessions 5 years ago

    For those noting the fact he stopped mixing his pitches properly, you’re not the only ones who noticed. In an interview with the globe today, Papelbon admitted he let his split-finger kind of fall out of his repetoire last season and admits that was a huge mistake. That pitch was the one that made him borderline untouchable in previous seasons and if he can get that back, the quality should return.

    link to

    • Just watch any game he pitched last year. He literally NEVER threw the splitter last season. He removed one of his best pitches to focus on other ones. Its a stage many closers go through especially approaching their prime, when they realize, “Crap, My Fastball won’t be 95-97 forever.”

  10. Israel Piedra 5 years ago

    Anyone who watches Red Sox baseball knows that Pap wasn’t the same last year. In fact, it’s been the last two years. I love going year-to-year with him. Somehow, he still gets the job done, but I’m scared whenever he’s out there.

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      Apparently only a few of those people understand what changed, though, and that none of it was cause for much concern.

  11. here’s the argument, and its a very simple one. Is there any reason to pay a closer $15MM a season if your name is not NYY or NYM. It really is that simple. No closer is worth that money unless they are throwing 2 innings of every win of the season. Then MAYBE. But until that time comes, Pap will have to settle for 10-11 max, which I still think is overpaying for a guy to pitch 50 games…

    Not saying you won’t lose wins late in a game, but the difference in wins is not worth the 14.5 million in salary that you have to pay to maintain it. Unless the best you have is Brad Lidge who can go 36-0 or 0-36, you can feel pretty good that you have a guy in the pen who can come in and close a few close games out for you. Bard, Ramirez, among others fit the bill to take this over at a much lower cost.

  12. vtadave 5 years ago

    What embarrassment down the stetch? One playoff game? And what evidence would you present that he’s hiding some sort of injury?

    Look, he’s clearly an ass-hat (just love that term for some odd reason), but the guy’s ERA was under 1.00 from Aug 11 on. He’s a top-five closer looking to be paid like one. Big deal.

  13. for a guy you are ripping on… he closed out the year again, as always as a top 3 closer. I hate the money drama as much as the next guy, but to talk like that is just idiotic. I’m sorry, I really don’t mean to insult you.

  14. Jeffrey 5 years ago

    I don’t agree with your assessment of Papelbon losing it (last year or in the future). But I think you nailed your first comment: “Here starts the PR job for Papelbon.” He’s got to build his reputation as a team player, good clubhouse presence and not as a “me me me” cancerous guy if he wants the really big money. It will be interesting to see if he can actually change, or at least how long he keeps up the act.

    I love his antics. I want my athletes to be entertaining. I also completely understand why other fans would hate him. I hope they sign him, and he gets back to being a dominating loudmouth, instead of a distraction.

  15. BoSoxSam 5 years ago

    While I agree that his numbers were still amazing, they have been going up every year. Plus he relied way too much on his fastball last year. IF he can get his other pitches back, I would love to overpay him to stay on the team; a dual-closer setup with him and Bard would rock. But it’s a big if right now, because clearly he thinks of himself as one of the best, if not the best, closer in baseball, and he might not be willing to be told he needs to adjust. Bard still needs a lot of work though, so I’m also not willing to say that he’s definitely our successor. I would be willing to go as high as 10 million a year for Papelbon, if he can get his secondary pitches back. It’s expensive, but we know he’s going to be expensive, and Boston can afford him. Plus I just love to see him out there, when he’s on fire. He’s a greedy little bastard, but if he can get over himself JUST ENOUGH to improve his secondary pitches, he could actually be one heck of a closer.

  16. vtadave 5 years ago

    Fastball was down a whopping .6 mph over the prior year, but was still faster than any other non-2008 year in his career. He threw fewer splitters, more sliders, and about the same number of fastballs. THe only real area you can criticize him other than his being a punk is his walk rate. Still, I imagine about 26 teams other than Boston would take him over their current closer.

  17. ReverendBlack 5 years ago

    Pretty sure most comments like this come from a general dislike of the guy — which is understandable.

    Papelbon can throw his fastball all day long — nearly exclusively — and, as long as he commands it, he’ll do very well. His “problems” last year were a function of (relatively) shaky command, both with his FB and his secondary stuff.

  18. saying Pap relies too much on his fastball, is like saying that Mo relies too much on his cutter… stick with what works. What was missing last year was the consistency of the splitter as he incorporated a slider and a change into his repertoire.

  19. ReverendBlack 5 years ago

    From insanely good to numbers to just regular ol’ excellence.

  20. BoSoxSam 5 years ago

    He also lost the splitter because he just stopped using it as much..while I understand the fastball is his PITCH, it’s nowhere near as dominating without his secondary pitches, and he was using it as if he didn’t need any other pitch. Mo can get away with it because his cutter has so much movement on it. Paps fastball doesn’t have enough movement to throw hitters off all the time.

  21. No, he stopped using it because he was focused on perfecting his slider and incorporating a changeup into his repertoire. Starters like Lester have to work it in slowly and use it little by little. Essentially what Papelbon did was scrap the splitter, and replace it with sliders and changeups repeatedly. Hence his WHIP went up, and hence his ERA rose slightly. Now that he likes where those two pitches are, he will bring the splitter back.

    A rough quote from Pap – dont remember exact wording: The splitter, like any other offspeed pitch requires repetitive action to keep it working the way you want it to. When you are not throwing it over and over again, you tend to leave it up. Hence while working on other pitches, I decided to scrap the splitter and focus on my other pitches. My discomfort in those pitch’s effectiveness resulted in me throwing a lot more fastballs and until my location started hurting me, I didn’t make any changes. Expect those changes to be very much so implemented in 2010.

    Once again, a VERY rough quote with the wording essentially made up, but the point remaining the same… The splitter will be back in 2010, along with the pitches that made him remain effective in 2009. Reports from Tampa say that his first BP session (yesterday? 25 pitches?), he threw a ton of splitters.

  22. ReverendBlack 5 years ago

    “Paps fastball doesn’t have enough movement to throw hitters off all the time.”

    I’ve been saying that to myself for years. Apparently, though, it does. Clearly he needs to be able to throw at least one secondary pitch for strikes. But if his fastball remains as it is, he doesn’t need any of them to be excellent. He just needs to be able to command it.

  23. Facts are facts, Overall Paps a better closer than K-Rod ( and I LOVE K-Rod and the Mets), and the Mets had no problem locking up K-Rod for 12.3 average a year. They would definitely drop money on Papelbon.

    If your point is that you are worried Pap will go to Yanks, don’t worry. Mo says he wants a 3 year plus deal, and the Yankees don’t have the heart to not give derek and mo what they want. If Pap goes to NY, it will be on the back end of his career at 33+… and IF he somehow remains a Red Sox player at that point, he will not deface his name with a few years left and go to the Yankees. Only Johnny Damon (who has proven his stupidity this offseason, if his interviews weren’t enough of a laugh for you) has the audacity to do that. Man could have gone down a Red Sox legend, instead hes going to be sitting at the wings of free agency begging for change.

  24. He would, but Yanks won’t drop 12.5 on him until Marianos gone, which will be 3-5 years by my count.

  25. 0bsessions 5 years ago

    I wouldn’t myself. Hell, despite being the best closer in history without question, I don’t even think Rivera is worth his contract outside of New York. Unless you’re content to have a $200 million a season payroll (Which most teams aren’t), locking up over $10MM in team resources annually for a player who only plays for about seventy innings a season is just fiscally ridiculous, no matter how efficient they are. Teams operated perfectly fine back before the mid eighties not contributing a good tenth of of the average franchise’s annual salary total to one guy who pitches a single inning less than every other game on average.

  26. Mooks 5 years ago

    I don’t buy that quote at all (not calling you out, I am calling Pap’s out). As a closer you work in the highest leverage situations, its hardly a time to scrap something that is working to try something new. I think the above quote is just an excuse for loosing confidence in the splitter.

  27. Losing confidence? It was his best pitch. The reason he scrapped it is because he had to scrap either the slider or the split. The split he was very comfortable with, so before he hits his prime, he made an adjustment. Happens with a lot of closers. Mariano included added the changeup more as his career progressed, tho he never used anything but the cutter enough to say he officially “scrapped” it.

    The split is back now, so we will see. By his standards and my prediction, 2010 will be by far his best year. He got put in his place last year, which is hard for a guy with his ego to take. He now has 3 plus pitches and 1 average pitch. He should really dominate this season, while I fully expect him (as with all developing pitchers), to touch a few more bats. Just hopefully for sox fans, he can keep that ground ball rate up and control his fastball. There really were no signs of a “falloff” that people speak of. His falloff still ranks him #2 or 3 in baseball.

  28. ReverendBlack 5 years ago

    I suspect you’re right that the adjustments he aimed to make were a consequence of some lost confidence in his split. It’s a totally undue lack of confidence, though, and Papelbon has enough good people around him to bolster it. His splitter has always been very good and it would be more of a surprise if he didn’t throw it often this season than if he did.

  29. Same holds true for Papelbon. No Theo does not believe 1 inning is worth that money. I can promise you that. Not only that, but the sox don’t go more than 2 or 3 year deals on relievers, because a slight injury could ruin their career. This is especially true for a guy like Pap who relies on velocity a ton. This is why he developed his 4th pitch. He recognizes this.

    I’d love to keep him, but if he goes somewhere, I’d say he’ll wind up in Philly or St Louis, but once again, on a team friendly contract that he won’t sign until after he comes back begging for 3/36 from the Sox. But yes, I’d give him 3/36 for 2012-2014, no questions asked. Not 3/45 and not 5/65, and certainly not more tho.

  30. Annual dollars mean little to closers. Years are far more impt due to the falloff the can occur suddenly

  31. Mooks 5 years ago

    The splitter was not his best pitch. It was his 3rd best pitch according to Fangrahps. Additionally, he has thrown it less and less in every season since he become a closer (from almost 20% in ’06 to 9% in ’09) and in ’08 and ’09, his splitter was actually a below average pitch if you look at the pitch type values.

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