Phillies Sign Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon's desire to set the market for closers was never a secret — it's now a reality. The Phillies have agreed to sign the 30-year-old to a precedent-setting four-year, $50,000,058 deal that establishes the record for guaranteed money for a reliever.  The Phillies announced the deal today, noting that Papelbon will continue to wear #58.

Papelbon

The contract includes a $13MM option for 2016 that vests with 55 games finished in 2015 or 100 in 2014-15, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark. The Phillies appeared to have a deal with Ryan Madson earlier this week, but talks fell through and the sides didn't complete the rumored four-year, $44MM deal. Papelbon's agents at ACES stepped in and the Phillies have their closer.

Papelbon posted a 2.94 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 64 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2011, saving 31 games. He's a Type A free agent who will cost the Phillies their first round draft pick in 2012, assuming the upcoming collective bargaining agreement doesn't change draft pick compensation for this offseason. Boston will obtain the 31st overall pick in next June's draft unless the Phillies sign an additional Type A free agent with a higher ranking than Papelbon. If the Phillies lose Madson to another team after offering him arbitration, they'll surrender one pick and gain two.

Papelbon is the first of MLBTR's top 50 free agents to sign. Check out MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker for the details. Bryan Grosnick examines the fantasy baseball implications of the move at CloserNews.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com first reported the deal and its terms. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, Jon Heyman of SI.com, Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM and others added detail.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


Leave a Reply

323 Comments on "Phillies Sign Jonathan Papelbon"


FacelessGeneralManager
3 years 8 months ago

If someone offered me a bet saying the Mets won’t be within three runs of the phils anytime soon. I take it without thinking and bet everything i have. 100000$ the mets beat the phials at least once in their first two series.

3 years 8 months ago

and gain BETTER picks for Madson.

hscphillyboy
3 years 8 months ago

Will miss Madson, but I have always thought that he was better suited to be a setup man. Paplebon has a better closer’s attitude…….

JacksTigers
3 years 8 months ago

I wonder if the Phillies will offer Madson arbitration.

dylanp5030
3 years 8 months ago

Why wouldn’t they? Madson wont accept. He would be a setup man and lose value…

JacksTigers
3 years 8 months ago

But what if he does? That could cost a ton. Can they afford to take that chance?

Beyond_Max_Power
3 years 8 months ago

Bastardo was the best relief pitcher in baseball for 3/4 of the season until he tired out. Stutes was also very good until he tired.  I am pretty excited about many young arms in the Phillies system, and filling out the pen with a few of them is fine by me.  Many forget Contraras will be back next year after going down mid season.  He was very good in 2010 and 2011 until getting hurt.  

We have to save money somewhere and the pen is the obvious area they feel they can use their own prospects.  All I know is ticket prices have gone up 7 straight years, and concessions have also increased every year except last year.  At least I feel I am getting my monies worth.I like Papelbon, but I am not crazy about this deal.  too long.

marcuccio
3 years 8 months ago

I agree, too long.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 8 months ago

50 guaranteed.

They don’t necessarily cancel out because the Phillies can potentially move up in the first round by losing Madson. They could end up with a high 2nd round pick though…

I don’t think they really care about a first round pick (which isn’t as big of a deal in baseball as in football and basketball, especially since they don’t really draft over 1st round slot… they get their prospects 3-10-lower rounds).

NomarGarciaparra
3 years 8 months ago

This certainty hurts…but perhaps not as much as the Papelbon deal could potentially hurt down the road.

notsureifsrs
3 years 8 months ago

it’s not the $10M part, it’s the 4 years with a vesting option part. nuts (as in the place i will punch ben cherington if he turns around and signs madson to a similar deal)

cyberboo
3 years 8 months ago

Now that the Red Sox have lost Papalbon, the funny part of it will be when Boston signs Heath Bell for 4 years 10M and lose their first round pick to San Diego.  lol. 

Slopeboy
3 years 8 months ago

In my heart, I’m happy as all hell. Still, can’t blame the Sox for letting him go. As much as I respect Papelbon, that’s waayyyy too much money. That vesting part is worse of all.

Now, here’s something you may be able to help me with. I realize that Papelbon wasn’t giving any home team discount, and was going to test the market. But did Cherington wait too long before making a real offer? Seems to me that instead of making a move during the exclusive period he waited until the FA period opened up. My thinking is that he may have been able to re-sign him for less years had he moved sooner. This is not meant to take a shot at Cherington, just a legit question

notsureifsrs
3 years 8 months ago

according to papelbon, the two sides have discussed an extension almost every year of his career. basically the red sox would presenta figure they were comfortable with, papelbon would present the figure he’d be looking for, and both sides would say “alrighty then. nevermind”

he was explicit about the fact that he understood their side of it, but also that they were never close to being on the same page about a long-term deal

so theoretically they could have tried to get something done between the end of the season and now, but i expect both camps already knew where the other stood. there wasn’t much to say before papelbon had other offers on the table. he got a great one and he took it

Nivarsity
3 years 8 months ago

Bard has a 3.20 FIP through age 26.  Papelbon had basically the same MLB stats at the same age, even though he didn’t get to the bigs till he was 2 years older. 

No one is saying Bard is as good as Papelbon.  But if Papelbon is getting this kind of contract, I’d take Bard in a second.

Dave203
3 years 8 months ago

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anyone should have signed Papelbon to that ridiculous of a deal.  However, that doesn’t make Bard a good 9th inning option.

The stats only tell half the story since nobody has seen Bard close out games before in big spots.  A lot of that role is mental, which is why I reference the 11 innings down the stretch as a comparison.  I agree it is a small sample of innings, but those 11 innings are far more representative of the stress of the closer role and any of his other innings previously.

Nivarsity
3 years 8 months ago

I don’t buy the “ninth inning is unique” meme.  But even if it were the case, 11 IP is not enough to say that Bard doesn’t have the gritty moxie veteranny mojo needed for the 9th.  You admit it’s a small sample, so I don’t see how you can keep arguing otherwise.

PWNdroia
3 years 8 months ago

So you’re saying that we should never have any new closers because inexperienced guys shouldn’t be given the chance to close?

Amish_willy
3 years 8 months ago

They gave up their 31st pick, will get one in the Supplemental round for Madison, who as the 5th highest ranked type-A will net them the 36th pick in the draft PLUS either a teams first or second round pick. I don’t see that as canceling eachother out.

Alot of money for Paps, but he’s got probably the best track record of performance & health amongst big league closers not to mention being at a young enough age to survive the deal. At 12m annually, doubt this deal will prevent the Phillies down the road any which way.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 8 months ago

Yeah me too, fire the man who traded for three ace level pitchers, signed Contreras, Pedro Martinez, Chan Ho-Park, traded for Mayberry, traded for Pence, etc and built a club capable of winning 102 regular season games.

Let’s fire him because he gave out a bad contract (a market value contract when you look at Soriano).

Maybe we should rehire Pat Gillick… the man’s the greatest GM of all time, so he never made a bad contract, right? He never signed Geoff Jenkins, Brad Lidge, Adam Eaton, Pedro Feliz, JC Romero…  (just as a note, I love Pat Gillick).

BoSoxSam
3 years 8 months ago

Amaro is also currently overpaying Ibanez (although the manager is more at fault there, for continuing to play him at all), just signed Howard to a crippling extension, and then this. I would be worried as a Phils fan.

3 years 8 months ago

not really because raul is gone and a free agent

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 8 months ago

1. Ibanez’s contract expired… and he got great production out of him in 2009, don’t make the playoffs without him. The price was fine, years, not so much.
2. the Howard extension was an attempt to beat the market… it didn’t work.

GM’s make bad decisions. It happens. No reason to call for the head of a GM who built a 102 win team.

3 years 8 months ago

Look, i’ll give the man credit, he is fantastic at trading for top notch talent. However, he simply is not good signing free agents. He constantly overpays, and gives too many years. Plus he has given out quite a few beloted extensions. Look he may acquire a lot of talent but the payroll has to stop rising.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 8 months ago

Why? Is it your money? They have the resources. Acquiring talent is his job.

3 years 8 months ago

At this rate he is going to run out of resorces.

Bustbigdiehappy
3 years 8 months ago

Where can I get a draft pickle?

Nivarsity
3 years 8 months ago

In 31 innings vs. the Red Sox last year, CC Sabathia had a 6.39 ERA.

I guess the guy just can’t get it done in the clutch.

Dave203
3 years 8 months ago

CC was absolutely terrible vs the Sox last year, there’s no arguing that.  Not sure how you got the clutch aspect based upon stats vs one team though…

Nivarsity
3 years 8 months ago

You, 5 minutes ago:  “Would you like to ignore the 24 innings he’s throw vs the Yanks
accumulating a whopping 4.13 ERA?  I’m sure those would fall into
innings you would like to forget and discount too though…”

Can’t make this stuff up.

Dave203
3 years 8 months ago

Again, I got the comparison vs one team.  Just not sure where you are getting “clutch” from anything I said…

Read more carefully…

Nivarsity
3 years 8 months ago

In the world where clutch is a thing, how on earth are CC’s 5 starts against the Yankees’ bitterest rival NOT clutch? 

MaineSox
3 years 8 months ago

It’s not convenient, that’s how.

slider32
3 years 8 months ago

Papelbon was the best closer on the market, and a great signing for the Phillies. Cherrington and AA missed the boat on this one. You snooze you lose.

HerbertAnchovy
3 years 8 months ago

AA didn’t miss anything. The guy knows his trade. 4 years is too much for Papelbon, or nearly any other reliever, in my opinion.

As for the Red Sox, Bard has earned his opportunity to close

slider32
3 years 8 months ago

That’s why they finished last year with a worse record than the year before. How about all those Jays pitchers pitching in the playoffs.  Dream on with AA.

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

Traded their opening day starter.

context, use some.

slider32
3 years 8 months ago

That’s why they finished last year with a worse record than the year before. How about all those Jays pitchers pitching in the playoffs.  Dream on with AA.

fishfan4life
3 years 8 months ago

Great signing? I forgot how many 3+ year deals have worked out for closers not named Mariano Rivera.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 8 months ago

Only takes one.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 8 months ago

Only takes one.

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
3 years 8 months ago

why do you keep repeating your damned comments?

MaineSox
3 years 8 months ago

Well yeah, actually.  How about the 16 blown saves Rivera has against the Red Sox? That’s only 16 innings right? (correct answer is yes)

You don’t ignore those innings you just take them in the small sample size context in which they are presented.  You don’t ignore the other 200+ innings of his career because of them.

Dave203
3 years 8 months ago

LOL.  You compare 16 blown saves (roughly 16 innings), over a 10 year period to Bard not handling his down the stretch run?  You can try and compare Bard to Mo all you want, it just gets comical…

3 years 8 months ago

Man if the Braves had the Phillies payroll we would have one hell of a team.

biffsniff
3 years 8 months ago

If only. Maybe we can get Mark Cuban to buy the team from Liberty Media, I heard they could opt out when the CBA expires, which is now. Maybe then the braves could have more payroll flexibility. 

3 years 8 months ago

You need fans to go to the games to have a high payroll. The only reason the Phils have a payroll this high is because they have sold-out every game in three years. The Braves can’t even sell out World Series games.

That’s why your payroll will be low, not because you don’t have billionaire owners.

3 years 8 months ago

Yeah I know, I think the Problem in the stadium location and the fact Atlanta is over 50% African American, and not many African Americans watch baseball. I think the Braves should go for an all black outfield with Heyward + Bourn + Maybe Fowler… That would be a pretty sick defense and offense.

3 years 8 months ago

and very marketable!

MaineSox
3 years 8 months ago

$12.5m/yr for 4-5 years is crazy for his (or any other reliever’s) history.

JTT11
3 years 8 months ago

I really dont know how crazy it is to give papelbon that kind of money.  Papelbon has a career Era of 2.31 and adverages 37 saves a year.  His yankee counterpart – MO has a career 2.21 era and 39 saves a year.  MO makes 15 mil a year.  Papelbon made 12mil last year.  (I do not think using the comparison between Mo and Papelbon using the sample size as Papelbons career is unreasonable for this limited purpose)

If papelbon can maintain a similar production through out the life of the contract, it will be an awesome signing But its a gamble.  think if the phils signed him for 3 years at 12.5 a year; assume papelbon maintains his production and hits free agency at the age of 33 with three more seasons added to his history he hits free agency – do you think he is signing for just 12.4mil? I dont. 

MaineSox
3 years 8 months ago

It’s not the money it’s the years.  No reliever should get a contract that long, relievers are simply too volatile to give contracts that long to.

$4555515
3 years 8 months ago

he had two blown saves the final series of the reguler season and nearly had a third in that same series look it up

3 years 8 months ago

Yup because you should ignore the rest of his season, or his career for that matter, and base your statment off of two outings.

notsureifsrs
3 years 8 months ago

no, it is a magical inning with mysterious magical mystery powers. not that i expect you know what an average leverage index is or what it means, but in 2011:

paps: 1.69
bard: 1.69

bard isn’t as good as papelbon. there are only like 3 relievers that are. that doesn’t make this a disaster, however, and your dramatics are cliche and tiresome. at least be dumb in a funny way

Dave203
3 years 8 months ago

Again, comparing stats of a setup man vs a closer is only half the picture.  I’m sure you can rattle off the names as well as I can of all of the setup men who failed as closers.  It’s a totally different amount of pressure when you are the last one they are counting on.

Russell Mania
3 years 8 months ago

The Red Sox get weaker and lose one of the biggest D-bags on the planet.  Win-win.