I have had a few days to let the Jonathan Papelbon signing sink in now and I am still not sure what to think. Papelbon is a proven closer and a 4-time All-Star. In 2011, he saved 31 out of 34 games for the Red Sox and posted a 2.94 ERA.
Both Papelbon and Ryan Madson are the same age and have similar stats with the big difference being experience as a closer. Papelbon has six years experience, Madson has just over a year all together.
Rumor has it that Madson was willing to take a 4-year, $44 million deal. The Phillies signed Papelbon for 4-years and $50 million. Madson would have been cheaper, theoretically, but Paplebon has the edge in experience.
My only concern is this: Madson seems to be on an up-swing with his stats improving over the past 3-years as he worked into the closer role. On the other hand, Papelbon had a horrid 2010 season, improving in 2011, but still nowhere near his All-Star numbers from 2006-2009. To me, this seems like a slight downward trend.
Then again, perhaps a change of scenery and removal from a Red Sox team that just had several surprisingly bad years will be the key to Papelbon’s return to form.
I realize I sound schizophrenic but I am just caught in between here. This move to me is not good or bad…yet. If Madson signs for a lot less than $50 million, this move may not look good. Otherwise, only time will tell.
This $50 million deal also brings up a few other questions. Will the Phillies have enough cash left to re-sign Jimmy Rollins? Can they still work out a deal for a role player like Michael Cuddyer? Once again, the Phillies raised ticket prices for the upcoming season so clearly, money is on their minds.
By the way, my favorite part of that article about the tickets is when John Weber, vice president of sales, says, “we will work with anyone who wants to move to another seating area.” Really? Because I tried that last year and was basically laughed at by a sales rep who told me there was almost no chance of a different seat opening up. Anyone else had the same experience?
Back to the topic of closer, I would like to know what everyone else thinks of the move. Leave your thoughts in the comment section.
And best of luck to Madson; he will be missed.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography