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.


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