Jonathan Papelbon Rumors
Jonathan Papelbon became the first major free agent of the 2011-12 offseason to switch teams, agreeing to a four-year, $50MM contract with the Phillies today that also includes a vesting option for a fifth year. Here is a sample of the reaction to the big signing...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link) says the Papelbon signing "is classic Philadelphia 21st century stuff: a quick strike, a big name and a lot of money." It's a major commitment to a closer, but Rosenthal points out that Papelbon's numbers are comparable to the first six years of Mariano Rivera's career.
- Rosenthal also notes that it hurts other free agent closers that the free-spending Phillies are no longer in the market for a stopper.
- ESPN's Keith Law trashed the signing, citing the poor history of relievers in multiyear contracts, the fact that the Phils deprived their "depleted" farm system of a first-round draft pick as compensation for Papelbon and his belief that Ryan Madson is the better reliever on the market. Law also projects that Papelbon will allow more home runs pitching at Citizens Bank Park.
- "Papelbon is a safer bet than Madson, basically the same age and with a much longer and better track record as a closer," writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. "Madson looked good in 2011, but in a role where success is often a year-to-year thing, it's very easy to say you'd rather have Papelbon."
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports thinks "it’s hard to find much fault with" the signing, given Papelbon's experience pitching in a big market and in important games. Morosi also looks at the rest of the offseason closer market.
- The amount of money the Phillies paid is "stunning," according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston (Twitter link). "If there was any year to lose your closer, this might be it," Edes writes. "Other options out there, none as good as [Papelbon]."
- The hefty contract and loss of a first round draft pick "seems steep" for Papelbon in the opinion of SI.com's Jon Heyman, but he likes how the Phillies are committed to contending every season. Heyman also thinks the Red Sox will look to sign one of the available closers, due to Daniel Bard's poor numbers during Boston's September collapse (both Twitter links).
- The Red Sox didn't make a formal offer to Jonathan Papelbon, who reached a four-year, $50MM agreement with the Phillies today. Cherington said he discussed "concepts" of a new contract with Papelbon's agents Sam and Seth Levinson, but didn't make an offer since Papelbon's asking price simply didn't fit into Boston's offseason plans.
- Cherington said he wasn't given the option of matching the Phillies' offer by Papelbon's representatives, but he didn't think such a step was necessary.
- Given the number of closing options on the market, Cherington didn't think his team would feel comfortable offering a four-year contract to a closer as the Phillies did with Papelbon.
- The Red Sox have been talking to David Ortiz's representatives and Cherington said he wants to re-sign the veteran slugger. "Because of what I feel, and I think he feels, is a little bit more of a defined market for that role it's been easier to engage sooner," Cherington said. "It's probably less likely to be a situation where he gets into the market and there's something that he's pushed into a corner on. David knows we want him to be here. We want him to be back with the Red Sox. We want him in our lineup. We've had a lot of dialogue to see if there's a way to do that and I think that will continue."
- Cherington feels that beyond the top free agent starters, there is "a lot of risk" in the pitching market this winter. "There are options, but riskier and would require some sort of bounce back from injury or bad luck or performance to some degree," the Boston GM said. "We're going to be exhaustive in looking at ways to build depth to the rotation an the bullpen. We do believe we have some internal options that will help us."
The Phillies are showing "serious" interest in Jonathan Papelbon, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. The Phillies appeared to have a deal with Ryan Madson earlier this week, but talks aren't going anywhere at the moment. Yesterday GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told Stark that rumors of an agreement on a four-year, $44MM deal were "unequivocally false."
It has become "increasingly clear" that Papelbon's price might not be much higher than what Scott Boras is seeking for Madson, Stark writes. The team has been debating the merits of keeping Madson versus signing Papelbon for quite some time. Stark adds that the Blue Jays and Marlins have also shown strong interest in signing the long-time Red Sox closer. The Phillies have had "extensive negotiations" with Papelbon's agents and though the talks have slowed down at times, Philadelphia's interest hasn't waned.
Papelbon, 30, 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. Like Madson, he's a Type A free agent who would cost a top pick in 2012. If the Phillies sign Papelbon and lose Madson to another team after offering him arbitration, they'd lose one pick and gain two.
10:19pm: Officials around the league are suggesting the Phillies' pact with Madson may have fallen through because the first big deal of the offseason "may harm the ongoing CBA negotiations, suggesting the owners believe an agreement is a formality," according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.
Another possibility is that MLB didn't like the terms of the deal, one that would set a relatively high bar for a free-agent class flush with closers, reports Brown.
4:18pm: Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the club never agreed to terms on a contract with closer Ryan Madson, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN. Amaro categorized the rumored four-year, $44MM contract as "unequivocally false," reports Stark (Twitter links).
The Phils' reported near-deal with Madson has unfolded curiously since the story broke on Tuesday afternoon. The holdup in it becoming official was apparently that Phillies president David Montgomery had not approved the terms. Heyman tweeted earlier this afternoon that there was little optimism that Montgomery would sign off on the pact, which had become a hot topic of discussion. There was a split among executives and agents regarding whether it would have been a good deal.
We've not yet heard rumors strongly tying Papelbon to any club, although we heard Tuesday that his name has come up during the Blue Jays' internal discussions. The right-hander, who has spent his entire career to date with the Red Sox, figures to command one of the two biggest free agent contracts for closers, along with Madson.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington suggested today that the Red Sox don't need wholesale changes. "This offseason is more about fixing what's under the hood than buying a new car," he told reporters. Here’s the latest on the team, starting with a note on their ongoing managerial search...
- Cherington doesn't expect to interview additional managerial candidates after he meets with Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo and Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (all Twitter links).
- The Red Sox have asked the Brewers to extend their window to talk with hitting coach Dale Sveum, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
- Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., a candidate for Boston's managerial opening, is "going to be a Major League manager, whether that's in 2012 or sometime after that," Cherington said, according to Speier.
- Cherington has exchanged messages with free agents David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter links). However, he hasn't spoken with the representatives for Jonathan Papelbon recently.
- There's no resolution on compensation between the Cubs and Red Sox for Theo Epstein, but the commissioner's office has given the sides more leeway, according to Lauber.
- Speier explains how Ryan Madson's possible deal with the Phillies affects Papelbon and suggests the likelihood that Papelbon has thrown his last pitch for the Red Sox would increase "if Papelbon wants to dig in for a contract that clears the bar set by Madson."
The latest on free agent reliever Ryan Madson:
- The Rangers, Red Sox and Nationals are expected to pursue Madson if the deal falls through, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Phillies may have decided to wait until the collective bargaining agreement is finalized before completing the proposed deal with Madson, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- The sides never had an agreement in place, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Phillies are reconsidering their options and could revisit discussions with Papelbon, according to Rosenthal.
- A source says it's "highly unlikely" a Madson-Phillies deal gets done today, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.
- This morning, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweeted, "Source close to Madson said Tuesday night there was no deal and talks were ongoing. Still believe Papelbon in picture." Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says sources indicated this morning that the Phillies are reconsidering their options.
- SI's Jon Heyman tweeted early this morning that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. agreed to a four-year, $44MM deal with Madson, but told agent Scott Boras he'd need the approval of team CEO David Montgomery, which still has not been given. Heyman says Madson signed off on the deal, but the SI writer doesn't know if the contract is in jeopardy. He adds that the Phillies had talks with Jonathan Papelbon as recently as Monday.
- Tuesday afternoon, Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio tweeted that he was hearing the Phillies were closing in on a four-year deal with Madson that could include a fifth-year vesting option. Soon after, Yahoo's Tim Brown tweeted, "Confirming Madson with Phils, 4 for 44 mil. Fifth-year option worth 13 mil," clarifying, "Those are numbers and years Madson and Phils talking. Close, not done yet."
The Blue Jays are aggressively seeking an experienced closer through free agency or trade, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney says the Jays have discussed free agents Heath Bell, Jonathan Papelbon, and Joe Nathan, as well as trade target Andrew Bailey of the Athletics.
Padres GM Josh Byrnes said last month he's likely to offer arbitration to Bell, a Type A free agent. Bell prefers to stay in San Diego, and he said in August he'll accept arbitration if offered. Should he change his mind and decline, he'd be an unlikely fit for Toronto for at least two reasons: the closer prefers the West Coast, and the Jays would have to give the Padres their 17th overall pick in next year's draft. The cost to sign Bell would be reduced to the Jays' second-rounder if they are to commit the #17 pick to another team by signing a higher-ranked Type A. Only Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson, David Ortiz, and Ryan Madson are ranked higher than Bell. For a closer look at Bell's performance this year, check out Alex Steers McCrum's article at CloserNews.
Signing Papelbon would hurt the division rival Red Sox in the short-term, though the Sox would get that #17 pick as a valuable consolation prize. Nathan is a more reasonable free agent target for Toronto, as they can offer a chance to close and contend and he won't cost a draft pick to sign. Bailey would require a bigger commitment -- multiple well-regarded prospects -- as the A's control him through 2015.
7:23pm: The Phillies are making a "strong push" to re-sign Ryan Madson, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports also hears that the Phillies are working hard to complete a deal for Madson. However, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. hasn't ruled other free agents out.
"It's no secret I need a closer," Amaro told Rosenthal. "I am talking to everyone."
Madson, 31, became Philadelphia's full-time closer in 2011, converting 32 saves. He posted a 2.37 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 48.8% ground ball rate in 60 2/3 innings of relief. He's a Type A free agent, but the Phillies won't have to surrender a draft pick to sign their own player. However, they would obtain two picks if the right-hander signs elsewhere after turning down arbitration from Philadelphia.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported earlier today that the Blue Jays are taking a "very aggressive" approach in their search for a closer (Twitter link). Though it's not clear if they're targeting Madson, Olney won't be surprised if Toronto ends up with one of the top free agent relievers.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington confirmed to reporters that the Red Sox and Cubs have obtained a one-week extension to work out compensation for former Boston GM Theo Epstein. Here are some more notes from the division, starting with the Red Sox...
- Peter Gammons of MLB Network said on WEEI's Mut & Merloni show that he won't be surprised if David Ortiz returns to the Red Sox this offseason.
- Though the Red Sox have considered moving Daniel Bard to the rotation, Gammons has heard it's not likely. Jerry Spar has the details at WEEI.com.
- The Red Sox are in talks with Ortiz and, to a lesser extent, with Jonathan Papelbon, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
- It's highly unlikely that the Yankees will sign Roy Oswalt, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. The club's worried about Oswalt's injury history, according to Matthews. Oswalt had multiple stints on the DL with lower back issues in 2011.
- The Yankees are "open-minded" about the possibility of moving A.J. Burnett or anyone else without a full no-trade clause, according to Chad Jennings of the Journal News. However, the GM sees value in the innings Burnett has provided.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues expects Jesus Montero to open the 2012 season with the Yankees, but he wonders if New York could obtain Mat Latos, Jaime Garcia or Jordan Zimmermann for the catching prospect.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes a detailed look at C.C. Sabathia’s vesting option for 2017.
- For the latest on the Orioles’ GM search, click here.
- Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin interviewed for Boston's managerial opening today and told reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, that he's hoping for the job. "The way I look at it is, who wouldn’t want to manage the Boston Red Sox?”
- Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum will interview for Boston's managerial opening Wednesday, according to Lauber (on Twitter). Boston hasn't yet asked for permission to interview others.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington hopes to name a manager by Thanksgiving, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (on Twitter).
- Cherington doesn't expect to reach a deal with David Ortiz or Jonathan Papelbon before the players hit free agency on Thursday, according to Lauber (on Twitter).