Papelbon Discusses Free Agency

"It really truly isn't all about the money," closer Jonathan Papelbon told WEEI's Rob Bradford.  In that case, he would have remained a starter.  Instead, the impending free agent says, "I'm going to a place where I know I'm going to succeed. I'm going to a place where I know I have a chance to win a championship. I'm going to a place where I know that my family is going to be safe, my family is going to like the environment, and everything else that goes along with off-field stuff."

The door is still open for Papelbon to return to the Red Sox, though no talks have occurred yet.  Papelbon told Bradford that he told Sox GM Theo Epstein, "Listen man, if you ever need anything, I'm here for you whether I'm going to be back here or whether I'm not going to be back here."  Papelbon has set arbitration records for closers the past three years, but says contract talks were "extremely easy for both sides."

The next step may be the Red Sox offering arbitration to the 30-year-old stopper, who qualifies as a Type A free agent.  Last year November 23rd was the deadline to offer arbitration to free agents, but it appears the deadline might be November 30th this year.

Top closers Papelbon and Ryan Madson will likely be vying to become the first free agent relievers to sign four-year deals since Francisco Cordero and Scott Linebrink four years ago.

51 Responses to Papelbon Discusses Free Agency Leave a Reply

  1. start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    “It really truly isn’t all about the money,”

    Since when?

    • jordan 4 years ago

      change or heart?

    • Guillermo Pacheco 4 years ago

      since he blow 2009 division series against the angels…. and this year  game 162 againt baltimore….

      • clearly its his fault the sox collapsed, and its his fault that they only scored 3 runs in #162 against bmore

        • Guillermo Pacheco 4 years ago

          clearly the sox collapse its not his fault, but a good reliever close games…. on the other hand a GREAT reliever, someone that wants 12+ millions for 3 years MUST close games when they really count.
           the shipping out to boston experience at fenway its great, but it doesnt give me the security that an important game is done, at least not anymore

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            “a good reliever close games…. on the other hand a GREAT reliever, someone that wants 12+ millions for 3 years MUST close games when they really count.”

            So I guess Mariano Rivera’s merely a “good” reliever, considering he’s had multiple occasions where he’s blown it at an important moment. Papelbon went over two months without allowing a run earned or otherwise. You want to talk about “when they count?”

            Between 14 appearances against the Yankees and Rays (Our two chief competitors this season), Papelbon pitched 16.1 innings, gave up only three runs on nine hits with only one walk. Late in the season, he came in and shut down both teams across two innings in key situations without allowing a single baserunner (And another one inning game against the Rays with only one hit).

            Your line of thought is absolutely ridiculous. Papelbon is GOING to get paid.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago


            low leverage: 1.57
            medium leverage: 2.40
            high leverage: 0.59

            bases empty: 1.25
            men on base: 2.05
            men in scoring: 0.35


          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            Bases loaded? -2.13

            Edit: yes that is a negative

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            from my advanced understanding of statistics, i take this to mean he should walk the bases loaded at the outset of each inning in 2012

          • MaineSox 4 years ago


          • MikhelB 4 years ago

            Now please post his career numbers he’s had against the Sox biggest “rival”: the New York Yankees (from what i see he has the worst stats against the Yankees compared to the other division rivals, with an 0-6 W-L lifetime, the highest WHIP, ERA, FIP, highest amount of Homeruns and… mostly everything is worse when compared to Tampa whom have had not so good seasons; though not as bad as vs The Angels).

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            I was mostly going with this year to show that counting his September issues as a reason to knock him is ridiculous.

            For reference, though, Papelbon leads all MLB relievers in WAR and is number two in FIP since 2006 (And number one hasn’t logged 100 innings yet). He’s also top ten for ERA and K/9 (Top fifteen for BB/9 and IP). It’s hard to argue against the fact that he is among the top relievers in the MLB. It’s pretty much him, Rivera, Broxton (In no particular order) and then everyone else.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            broxton has been voted off that island and craig kimbrel thinks they’re all a bunch of underachievers

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            I’m embarrassed to admit I wasn’t familiar with Kimbrel until I saw him sitting near the top of every single thing I checked on fangraphs. All I could think was “who is this upstart and what has he done to the grading curve?”

          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            The same can be said for Rivera’s numbers against the Sox.  That’s just what happens when you are pitching against the Yankees/Red Sox; I’d be willing to bet you’d see the same thing in pretty much any pitchers’ splits.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            it also doesn’t matter (in terms of predicting future performance) what either pitcher did against sox/yanks lineups from 3+ years ago. i give you pap’s 2011 v. yankees:

            8 games 9.1 IP 0.45 FIP 1.93 ERA

          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            and also this

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            i know it wasn’t the play that blew the save, but i just don’t want history to forget and blame papelbon…


    • MaineSox 4 years ago

      They cut out the part where he said “just mostly”

  2. Blanketsburg 4 years ago

    If it’s really not about the money, the Sox should look to sign him somewhere around 3yr/$27M-$30M to 4yr/$36M-$40M. As much as he was ineffective down the stretch this year, he has been dominant as a closer, akin to Rivera. I’d love to see Paps stay with the Sox for awhile.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      no way to the 4th year unless it’s a mutual option

      i was completely opposed to resigning him at all until his career year this season (1.53 FIP 1.58 SIERA what). but he’s still a reliever, still a loudmouth, and still capable of regression

      3 years at a non-crazy price, ok. 4 years or 3 at top dollar, thanks anyway and good luck

      • Blanketsburg 4 years ago

        I agree, three years at a team-friendly deal, since it “isn’t all about the money” would be good. I understand the possibility of regression but outside of 2010 and September 2011 I see no reason to think it will happen sometimes soon.

        • MikhelB 4 years ago

          The accurate phrase might have been:

          “It isn’t all about the money (as long as i am paid better than the king and model of all closers, his majesty Mariano Rivera to whom i bow my head)”

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            last 3 years

            FIP- (adjusted for league & park)
            A 61
            B 61

            A 2.48
            B 2.60

            A 105
            B 102

            A 19
            B 18

            A 9.74
            B 9.71

  3. johnsmith4 4 years ago

    Just had a thought….what are the chances Papelbon chooses to accept arbitration with Boston?  If he does, offering Papelbon aribtration might turn out to be a shrewd and bold move by Boston.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      there is no scenario in which they do not offer him arbitration; it’s necessary in order to get draft compensation

      • johnsmith4 4 years ago

        true…maybe I should edit the original comment and replace bold with predictable and expected….oh well

    • jeffdg 4 years ago

      And his arbitration number will be at least $13mm, and likely closer to Rivera at $15mm. Its a no-lose situation for Papelbon.

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        …he’d lose at least 2 guaranteed years and at least $24M. and if he had a down year or got injured in 2012, a lot more than that

        • jeffdg 4 years ago

          I think that is a fair statement, but what if those offers just arent out there? If the Sox decided to go with Bard (for conversation sake), who out there is going to pay him $12mm per year? Heck, i dont see a team willing to pay $10mm per year. If he can make $15 in arbitration, and stays healthy, he cant lose.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            crowded market, but he’s the best reliever in it. i suppose it’s a theoretical possibility that everybody gets smart at once, but not likely imo

            i’d love papelbon back on a 1 year deal

  4. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    actually some pretty mature comments in the article from papelbon regarding the organization and how he learned his approach to the game. epstein made a comment awhile ago about how much papelbon had matured, but i figured that was BS

    having said that, i’ll believe it when i see it when it comes to the “not all about the money” stuff

    • MaineSox 4 years ago

      Yep, and if he does end up demanding 3-4 years at top dollar I’d be fine with an internal option, or Bell on a cheaper shorter deal.

      • BoSoXaddict 4 years ago

        I think you mean THE internal option, since there is really only 1.

        • MaineSox 4 years ago

          Eh, Bard is certainly the best internal option, but I don’t really think he’s the only internal option.  Jenks was a closer in Chicago, and assuming he’s healthy he could do it in Boston as well, and Michael Bowden did well closing in Pawtucket.

          • BoSoXaddict 4 years ago

            Cmon, do you really expect the team to let Papelbon walk without them either A) deciding for good that Bard will be the the opening day closer or B) aquiring another closer via FA or trade? Jenks or Bowden? I don’t think so..
            Furthermore, given Bard’s rough September..I would be a little surprised if they chose option A. I think the most likely scenario is Pap comes back for 3 years/40 mil.

          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            I think part of the reason they got someone with closer experience (Jenks) was because they were planning ahead for just this scenario.

  5. Casor_Greener 4 years ago

    I’m philosophically opposed to paying a reliever 10M a year, but despite all the data stating that closer are overvalued no one is going to stop paying these guys major bucks (if $10M can still be considered major in MLB).

    Someone is going to offer him way too much, and even though it’s not about the money, he will take it.

  6. I dont think Heath Bell would to to the AL east; if Bard is the closer you still weaken the pen, unless you get a new guy for the 8th

  7. NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

    Red Sox should just past the torch to Bard and let him ride out his career. Papelbon is a nice commodity but when closers start becoming big expenses promote your set-up man. 

    • MaineSox 4 years ago

      I’m not sure yet how seriously to take it, but there is talk around Boston about possibly trying Bard in the rotation, in which case they would need someone to close and I think the likelihood of them re-signing Papelbon increases.

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        I doubt it’s that serious. Bard was moved to the pen because he cannot maintain control over extended innings, not because of his lack of repertoire.

  8. NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

    Since the Red Sox are now apparently in a major hiatus they should just trade away most of their stars and they should improve tremendously

    • SixAces 4 years ago

      You mean like a bridge year? Like 2010 and uh… 2011?

  9. SixAces 4 years ago

    What about Jenks?

  10. TheFreak2011 4 years ago

    Bard reminds me of a younger version of Kyle Farnsworth, a hard thrower without much movement.  I don’t see how anyone in Red Sox nation would think they would be better off without Papelbon.  Jenks is overweight and has lost a lot off his once explosive fastball.

Leave a Reply