Heading into 2011, with Jonathan Papelbon coming off his worst season and in a contract year, it seemed to be just a matter of time until Daniel Bard took over as the Red Sox closer. As the offseason approaches though, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that it will be very difficult for the Sox to lose Papelbon. While they could replace him with Bard, they'd then have to find a reliever capable of filling Bard's eighth inning role. One National League executive said he thinks the Sox should bring Papelbon back: "If the resources were there to have both of those guys at the end of the game, and I believe they are, then there’s no way you break that up." Here are the rest of today's Red Sox updates:
- Within Cafardo's piece, an NL GM wondered what sort of deal Papelbon could land on the open market this winter: "Is the market that teams are willing to spend on a closer more in the $8MM to $10MM range now? It depends, I guess, on how desperate you are. It takes one team."
- Cafardo says the Red Sox could still consider Rich Harden as an August trade target, if he makes it to them on waivers. Boston nearly worked out a trade for the right-hander in July, but it fell through due to medical concerns. It's worth remembering, however, that the Sox didn't nix the deal entirely – they still tried to acquire Harden at a reduced cost.
- Boston put "just about everyone" through waivers this week, according to Cafardo.
- David Ortiz told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Red Sox should make it a priority to lock up Jacoby Ellsbury to a long-term deal. Rosenthal rightly pointed out that Ellsbury's agent, Scott Boras, typically likes to see his clients hit free agency, making an extension less likely.