Red Sox, Papelbon Avoid Arb With $12MM Deal

The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Jonathan Papelbon and agreed to sign the reliever to a one-year deal worth $12MM, according to Sean McAdam of (on Twitter). The Red Sox also avoided arbitration with Jacoby Ellsbury, agreeing to a $2.4MM deal.

92 Responses to Red Sox, Papelbon Avoid Arb With $12MM Deal Leave a Reply

  1. renegade24 5 years ago

    Not worth it but they had no choice.

  2. RahZid 5 years ago

    Wow… just wow. That being said, it isn’t far from what I thought ($11.5M for Paps, $2M for Ells).

  3. And Epstein stays perfect having never gone to arbitration with a player.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      Overpaying is staying perfect?

      He just handed out the largest contract for an arb relief pitcher in history. Not like he got over on Paps.

      Anyway … that number looks awfully big. I wonder what Paps side was going to bring to the case. I thought that he would have been looking for around $12.5m – that the Sox would be at $11m or so.

      • 0bsessions 5 years ago

        “I wonder what Paps side was going to bring to the case”

        Fourth in the AL in saves, top ten MLB. He had more saves than Mariano Rivera, who just got something to the tune of $15 million annually. Additionally, he also put up the second highest K/9 of his career.

        You know better and I know better than to focus on garbage like saves, but this is the kind of archaic methodology used when someone goes to arbitration and you have to assume he would’ve gotten close to this if they’d gone to arbitration, only with the added bonus of creating drama to distract everyone. He stunk up the joint last year, but let’s not pretend this is the most ridiculous arbitration raise in history.

        • JohnPaulP 5 years ago

          Well put.

        • cayanksfan 5 years ago

          Are you really comparing papelbon to Mo? 5 WS and the greatest closer ever!?! He is 40 and his ERA was half of papelbons.

          • RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

            Paps has won a WS himself and has only been scored upon once in the playoffs whereas Mo could be single-handedly blamed for costing the Yanks 2 titles in 2001 and 2004! Just saying!

          • LifeLongYankeeFan 5 years ago

            Mo also has a lot more postseason innings pitched then Pap and hes pitched to a consistent era of around 2 for going on 15 seasons! Just saying!

          • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

            Papelbon has no where near the amount of innings pitched in the WS compared to MO

          • RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

            No reliever probably does!

          • 0bsessions 5 years ago

            Did you actually read my post or did you just see a Yankee’s name and decide to get indignant for the sake of being indignant because I didn’t follow up my post with “OMG BEST CLOSER EVAR YANKEE LEGEND!!!11″? It is a fact that Papelbon had more saves than Rivera last year, you and I cannot deny that. I did, however, go on to say that that being used as a measure may be idiotic, but it’s how it’s done.

            I don’t make the rules, I just translate them. I never said Papelbon was a better closer overall, nor did I imply that Papelbon is actually worth Rivera money. What I pointed out is that saves are an important stat in the arbitration process (Despite how ridiculous it is) and Papelbon had more of them than a closer currently making $15 million a year. These are indisputable facts.

          • MikhelB 5 years ago

            They also take into account:
            ERA 3.90 to 1.90 by Mo
            Wins-Loses 5-7 vs 3-3 by Mo
            Blown saves 8 vs 5 by Mo

            Ultimately it all boils down to advantage for one in some categories and advantage for the other in the rest… BUT it’s not arbitration and Theo knows about stats, so, i don’t think he took into consideration that BUT after spending more than 150 millions in a single winter, he just did the same thing the yanks do (and get criticized for doing so): practically writting a blank check to a “good” reliever.

            I’m sure he took into account BABIP, how batters bat against him at Fenway, WHIP, adjusted WHIP, normalized stats to factor in the favorable effect Fenway has in batters, etcetera.

          • “he just did the same thing the yanks do (and get criticized for doing so): practically writting a blank check to a “good” reliever.”

            To argue that Theo just wrote a blank check to Papelbon is just ignorant. Papelbon was set to make at least $11.5 mil in arbitration. Do you think Theo wanted to go to the hearings over $500K?

          • cayanksfan 5 years ago

            Simmer down people, holy s**t people are angry, LOL.

          • 0bsessions 5 years ago

            Let me dial it back and handle this in terms more accustomed to your apparent level of discourse:

            lol good 1 brah papelBUM and the red sux have nothin on MO! gtg grab a pibber

          • cayanksfan 5 years ago

            Bloggers in geeneral are angry, some are pretty funny though. Read the NY Post after a celebrity goes to jail or after Ohblama makes the news.

  4. Good luck trading him now. The guy’s ERA more than doubles from 2009 to 2010 and he gets a raise — WOW! do I regret quiting Little League….

    • nhlegend 5 years ago

      The Sox don’t want to trade him.

    • RahZid 5 years ago

      Yep, it more than doubled….. and stayed under 4.

      • MikhelB 5 years ago

        A 3.90 its mediocre for a closer, if he were to pitch 100-150 inn a year, then i would say it was “ok”, but for a mere 67 inn with 8 blown saves (almost tripled his previous year in that category)… it’s pretty bad.

        • RahZid 5 years ago

          3.90 is above average for a bullpen arm,which is all that we need him to be, and as a career worst, I’ll take it. Obviously, I wouldn’t want him on a multi-year deal with this AAV, but this is how the arb process works. Boston was clearly comfortable with it compared to their alternatives, otherwise they would have non-tendered him. This salary really isn’t much of a surprise.

    • Green_Monster 5 years ago

      Clear Red Sox hater, he had one bad year, he is a closer, his era last year was still under 4 and you think its a over pay, not even close.

      • soxfan0928 5 years ago

        It’s a clear overpay. Papelbon somehow lowers his ERA from 2.34 to 1.85 from 2008 to 2009 and gets a $3.1mm raise. Then more than doubles his ERA from 2009 to 2010, blows almost 3x more saves, converts less saves, increases his BB/9, yet still somehow gets a raise of $2.65mm, virtually the same raise as he got from 2008-2009??

        Pap deserved to go from his 9.35mm to about 10.5mm, no more than that. Of course, what a player deserves has no bearing on these outcomes.

        It’s an overpayment, and to say it isn’t is being a homer.

        • RahZid 5 years ago

          Is it an overpay? Yes. But the reason for his raise is a combination of his career numbers and MLB service time, (2 of the top 3 things looked at in the arb process). This is just the arb system at work, for better or worse.

      • stocktopus 5 years ago

        It’s an obvious overpay, but not for the reasons that you guys are even arguing about. No reliever should be payed 12 Million per year. It’s just that simple. The math has been done on this issue, and relievers just don’t contribute that type of value – in terms of wins – over a replacement level reliever. You should read “The Book” by Tom Tango. As pointed out in that book, the fact that closers are often brought into games with a 3 run lead, and only need to record three outs, is a huge waste of their talent. No one-inning pitcher should be payed 12 Million per year. It’s that simple. The market for relievers – especially closers – is just ridiculous right now.

      • Muggi 5 years ago

        Unless he has a monster, monster season I have a feeling you’ll be seeing how big an overpay this is when he hits FA next season. It’s probably 20% above what he’ll bring on the open market IMO.

      • It’s a huge overpay. Papelbon didn’t have 1 bad year, he had back-to-back bad years despite his good ERA in 2009. Did you watch those games? You know, the ones where he’d throw nothing but fastballs and he constantly had runners on — which is now a huge problem with Papelbon considering his WHIP has gone up each of the last 4 years.

        Say what you want, but a closer with a 3.90 ERA, a 1.269 WHIP and 8 blown saves is not worth $12mm. Oh yeah, I forgot about his tasty 13.50 ERA in the ’09 postseason — yeah, Paps has been a god send for the last 2 years . . .

        • Have you been reading the replies to your comment? He was overpaid because the arbitration system dictates what he will get paid

  5. stl_cards16 5 years ago

    Just when you think paying Prince Fielder 15.5MM seems high. 12 mil for a pretty good

    I guess he should look at this as making up for next year when no one wants to sign him due to giving up a draft pick.

    • harmony55 5 years ago

      Come November do the Red Sox even offer Jonathan Papelbon arbitration working off his 2011 salary of $12 million if the presumed free agent righthander repeats his 2010 performance?

      • KenJr1918 5 years ago

        Depends on how the draft parameters are changed, if at all during the upcoming CBA.

      • stl_cards16 5 years ago

        Good point, if everything stays the same, I would say no.

      • Karkat 5 years ago

        Since Papelbon will be a type A after this season, the Red Sox would be foolish not to offer him arb. Even if he has a season like 2010, his ego is big enough to go fishing for a big contract, so he’ll turn it down.

      • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

        Unless Paps falls off the earth he will be offered arbitration and find work somewhere. He will decline arbitration because what ever multi year offer he gets will in total be higher than $12 mil and will be guaranteed.

        As much as I hate the Sox and Paps, he’s probably among the top 10 closers in the game and since few of those top 10 will be on the market next year, he will find a team who wants him.

    • Green_Monster 5 years ago

      Prince is going to sign an extension or get traded, if he gets traded, not one team would want to take on a huge salary. 12 mil is not that high for a good closer, Theo has had a great off season, so mine as well get the arbitration off his shoulder’s and call it a good offseason

      • Muggi 5 years ago

        It’s the 3rd-highest salary for a reliever in the game, unless I’m forgetting someone (Mo and Lidge). Is Papelbon the 3rd-best reliever in the MLB? Not even close in my eyes.

        The Yanks didn’t even have to pay Soriano that much to get him to give up the closer’s role, and he’s better than Paps. This is an overpay, dunno how it can be seen as otherwise.

        • 0bsessions 5 years ago

          He wasn’t the third best reliever in the game in 2010 and he was skirting the line in 2009 (His peripherals weren’t solid, but his counting stats still had him falling among the elite), but he was unquestionably top three from 2006-2008, which is how he hit this figure.

          • MikhelB 5 years ago

            More than likely it’s not even because they factored in his three good seasons but because there isn’t an available closer that it’s asa good as Soriano right now, so, the had to overpay. Their demand was bigger than the offer, and taking into consideration that signing Soriano would mean paying the same amount they paid to Papelbon, they went with whom they know… for better or for worse, they already know Paps.

          • 0bsessions 5 years ago

            I mean no disrespect when I say this, but I’m not entirely sure you understand how arbitration works.

            The Red Sox had to overpay for Papelbon because that’s how arbitration works. Once a player has hit a certain salary level (In Papelbon’s case, that salary level was $9.5 million), they can only take, at maximum, a twenty percent paycut, and they have to absolutely tank it to do that (And his numbers were not elite last year, but they don’t qualify as tanking it either). More often than not, they get about a 20% bump in pay, which this essentially is (Plus half a mil).

          • RahZid 5 years ago

            Now that being said, they could have non-tendered him, but they would have had to either give him a multi-year dealt to keep him, or brought in another closer (Soriano? Heath Bell?).

          • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

            Most arb settlements go UP and not DOWN. Paps got a raise because that’s simply how it works. It’s not like the Sox thought “Gee we think you’re great Paps and we happily offer you $12mil). They submit a figure, the other side submits a figure and then if it goes to a hearing the Sox have the great opportunity to tell Paps and his agent all the things he sucks at and once all that happens “Hey we’re glad to have you back as our closer”. Sox just decided to suck it up for one more year with a slight (or bigger) overpay. It’s only 1 year so it’s not that big of a deal. If they offered him his perceived worth of (for arguements sake) of $8 mil and Paps came in at $12 mil then the arbitrator would probably go with Paps just because, as someone mentioned, his numbers like saves (3rd in the AL) would’ve helped his case.

        • RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

          over the last 5 years the only closer whos been better is Mo period! Nathan would be close but he missed last year to injury! And no way in hell is Soraino as good as Papelbon. Now theres a huge overpay if we’ve ever seen one and for a setup man to boot!

          • Muggi 5 years ago

            5 years, you might be right. 2 years? No. Paps’ peripherals have declined every year. And sorry to burst your bubble, but three years ago Paps was better than Soriano…the last two, Soriano has been significantly better in virtually every measurable way.

          • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

            Wipe out the time missed for injuries and Wagner says hello.

      • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

        Are you saying no one would take Prince @ $15 mil this season?

  6. Muggi 5 years ago

    Paps is going to be in for a shock when he hits FA…

    • I doubt it will happen, but maybe the Sox will get lucky and he’ll go back to sub 2.00 ERA for his contract year. Either way, he is kind of screwed — thanks to Soriano, the Yanks are out on him and I can’t imagine the Sox giving him a multi-year deal, so there goes the 2 big boys on the block.

      • Muggi 5 years ago

        The Phils are going to need a closer, but with the spending they did this offseason I can’t see them in play for him either. They’ve already got Hamels and (possibly) Rollins to extend in the near future, as well as Utley in a couple seasons. IMO they’re going to search the minors for their next closer, if it’s not Madsen.

        Many of the big spenders off the table, and despite the Soriano deal IMO the days of the $12m closer are coming to an end. Paps will probably end up under $10m AAV.

      • MikhelB 5 years ago

        Maybe the sox will offer the Royals a pair of bats and an almond joy bar, to acquire Soria… you know, the kind of trades they always pull with the Padres… LOL, wait a minute… Heath Bell!! they can get Bell from the Padres… =O

      • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

        Angels, Phillies, possibly the Braves, Mariners, Dodgers, etc.

        • 0bsessions 5 years ago

          After being at Fenway for game three of the 2009 ALDS, I would laugh hysterically if the Angels picked up Papelbon.

    • Victor Kipp 5 years ago

      Unless he is lights out and has a great season. One thing about Papelbon is that he was starter until he reached the bigs. If he bombs this year and losses his job he could seek a starting job with another team or even…….the Sox….at a lot less than 12 mill of course and for 1 year. It will be interesting to see what happens to him this year.

    • soxfan0928 5 years ago

      If he has another sub-par year, he’ll take a 1 year deal in an NL pitchers park like San Diego or even to the AL West in Seattle, build his value up, and hit FA again after the 2012 season when the market isn’t flooded with closers.

      That would be my advice to him if I was his agent, at least.

      • RahZid 5 years ago

        Seattle may be a better fit from a budget perspective than the Padres, and it should help his value by allowing him to claim he was still facing AL competition. I agree with your general principle though.

  7. Lunchbox45 5 years ago

    Baseball… Where Jacoby is worth 10Million a year less than Papelbon

    • 0bsessions 5 years ago

      Papelbon also came up close to two and a half years before Ellsbury. This is Papelbon’s final year of arbitration eligibility and Ellsbury’s first AND he’s coming off of a major injury. Papelbon got six million coming off of a phenomenal 2008 season. If Ellsbury didn’t get hurt this year and played similarly to 2009, he probably would’ve gotten close to what Papelbon got in his first year.

      • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

        Thanks, I know the reasoning behind it

        I was more or less mocking the whole arbitration process because of reasons like this. . In the end there is no reason to have a player who gives you 60 innings make more than someone who plays over 1000 defensively with 600 AB’s

        • baseballz 5 years ago

          Your wit was so sharp Obsession didn’t even realize he was cut by it.

          • 0bsessions 5 years ago

            Coincidentally enough, I’ve had a small cut on my right ring finger that I just noticed a couple of hours ago and cannot for the life of me remember how I got it. Guess I know now.

  8. Pap has taken a hard line with Sox regarding his salary and future salary, I would think that if Theo and the brass had wanted to make a stand, take a hard line of their own this was their chance to do it. Good that they got something worked out but I have a strange feeling that this salary will en up being the highest annual average value of his career, given the way his numbers are skewing.

  9. What really sucks is if the Sox try to offer him arb next year to get his type A status and he accepts he will be making close to 15 mil a year. He would be dumb to turn it down.


    • Muggi 5 years ago

      Yup. Same reason K-Rod’s agent is going to be watching the Mets like a hawk this season, looking for any situation he could use to say the Mets are intentionally limiting his Games Finished (and lessening the chance of his monster $17.5m option kicking in).

      Big decision for the Sox if Paps isn’t insanely good this year.

    • MDMV 5 years ago

      Even though he would make a lot for that one year I don’t think he would accept. He wants to make as much $ as possible and if Soriano can get $35 mil as a set up man Papelbon can get that as a closer.

    • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

      If he has a decent 2011, let’s say 35-40 saves, a sub 3.00 FIP and a sub 1.25 whip, which is conceivable, I’m 75% sure someone will offer him the comfort of a 3/$30 deal. I think he would take that vs coming back to Boston where they’ve made it evident this winter that they are not crazt about him anymore.

      • Redsoxn8tion 5 years ago

        Good. Let him become another teams problem for 3/30. It’s clear he can’t pitch without Tek behind the plate

  10. 12 mil, holy hell!

  11. Wrek305 5 years ago

    12mm the guy is awful.. Jim Hendry is by far the worst GM in baseball and he wouldn’t even give Papelbon $12 Million.

    • Yeah. Theo got the names mixed up. He wanted to give Papelbon $2.4 mm and Ellsbury $12 mm, but he switched the cards at the last moment.

  12. cayanksfan 5 years ago

    Blockbuster! Aardsma, Ichiro and Felix for Gardner, Joba and the Scranton Wilkes Barre Yankees!

    Before you idiots reply, I am jk.

  13. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    Or put Bard in a position he may or may not be ready for.

  14. Redsoxn8tion 5 years ago

    Way too much for Pap. That makes him virtually untradable, if he starts stinking up the joint. Hopefully they’ll have a short leash on him this year where Jenks

    • Wrek305 5 years ago

      the only problem is Jenks fell off last year… on the other hand Boston wins the east with Ease

  15. BoSoXaddict 5 years ago

    Why are people commenting about this like it wasn’t inevitable?

  16. Guest 5 years ago

    The red sox are not crazy about Paps anymore and it transcends just the money/performance factor. The guy cannot keep his mouth shut when it comes to clubhouse matters and its b0iled over a couple of times. You remember a couple of years ago when the sox started the season with a game at fenway where all of the players lined up in the one of the isles and were introduced one by one and walked through the crowd? Now as a player you can say you didn’t fell comfortable doing that. But Paps and his huge mouth went a step further calling out a member of the red sox staff for organizing it calling her “an idiot”. Nobody else on the team would have said that… maybe manny back in the day but thats it. Paps, just shut up and pitch.

  17. He’s making more than Tim Lincecum. Where’s the sense in that?

  18. Lunchbox45 5 years ago

    ummm how many saves does Tim Lincecum have???

  19. BoSoxSam 5 years ago

    He’s making a lot more than a bunch of guys. Being paid more than a couple other guys on his own team; Pedroia, Buchholz, Lester, and Gonzalez just as a couple examples. That’s just what happens when you’ve got a good agent, you cash in at the right time, and you exploit the arbitration process. Papelbon is not a nice guy, and he’s definitely struggling lately, but he has an agent that knows how to work the system, and he had his breakout year at the right time.

  20. soxfan0928 5 years ago

    How many Cy Youngs does Papelbon have?

    How many saves did Brian Wilson, Heath Bell, Joakim Soria, and Neftali Feliz have last year? 178. And how much did they get paid? $11,800,000. Total.

    Papelbon is immensely overpaid, and I’m a huge Sox fan.

  21. Lunchbox45 5 years ago

    lol dude, I was being so sarcastic

  22. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    Ummmm……3 of those guys are either ineligble for arbitration or signed team friendly extensions. I get your point but not the greatest examples.

  23. Green_Monster 5 years ago

    I hate how people use guy for example that have only signed one contract and that was when they were younger so they didn’t get a truck load of money, of course Pap is making more then Lester-Youk-Pedrioa-Gonzales, three of them are younger and will be getting their money soon. ….. Think before you post

  24. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    One can argue that his decision NOT to sign an extension is working against him unless he can cash in on a huge 2011 season. Pedroia and Youks “could” make more over the long run.

  25. soxfan0928 5 years ago

    Hey man. You never know. I’ve seen much dumber comments in here. Sorry dude. Didn’t mean to rip your comment if it was sarcastic.

  26. Lunchbox45 5 years ago

    I cut myself because of it

  27. RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

    Never said he was as good as Mo genius(although its close). Just trying to calm down the Mariano nuthuggers like yourself!

  28. The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

    NO, its not even close at all

  29. GoAwayNow 5 years ago

    lol nuthuggers

  30. 0bsessions 5 years ago

    This garbage has degenerated to the point I’m about to get in line behind lunchbox at CVS for some razor blades.

  31. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    (cough) I resent that.

  32. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    that’s a confusing idiom.

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