How will Pap fit in?

In light of the fact that Bobby Jenks will sign with the Red Sox, assuming he passes his physical, it’s fair to wonder how this move will impact Jonathan Papelbon, Boston’s closer of the last five seasons.

After being an All-Star for his first four seasons, Papelbon had a downturn in 2010. His 3.90 ERA was more than a run and a half higher than his previous high as a closer — 2.34 in 2008. The eight blown saves also represented a career high, topping his six from 2006. The 28 walks were a career high, as was the 3.76 walks per nine innings.

Then there were the other signs that he hasn’t slipped that much. For instance, his 10.21 strikeouts per nine inning ratio was his best since 2007, when he had a dominant 12.96. The opposing batting average was also very respectable, at .226. The velocity was also sustained for the most part, his fastball typically coming in at 95-96 as it has for much of his career.

Papelbon is a free agent after the season, and with Jenks now on board for two years, the Red Sox have options. Do you trade Papelbon, who is on the hook for nearly $11 million in 2011? I think Papelbon will end up staying because his trade value is low at this point, given his performance last year combined with his salary.

So do you start Papelbon as the closer, but have Daniel Bard or Jenks available to step in if it looks like a 2010 repeat? It’s hard to imagine Papelbon — given his strong personality — suddenly being reduced to setup man.

But there is bound to be an odd dynamic when he gets to Fort Myers. After all, it is well-documented that the Sox made a run at Mariano Rivera even before making the move for Jenks.

Once the Jenks signing becomes official, it will be interesting to hear what Theo Epstein will have to say regarding Papelbon’s role going forward. Of course, it needs to be noted that Jenks is also coming off the worst year of his career. Will one of these two closers bounce back? Will both of them? WIll neither?

Meanwhile, if the pieces fit together right, Papelbon-Jenks-Bard could be a filty 1-2-3 combo in the back end of the ‘pen. Epstein has also acquired Matt Albers, a groundball specialist who seems like more of a sixth or seventh inning guy. And lefties Rich Hill and Andrew Miller might have a shot to be a lefty in the bullpen, if Epstein doesn’t acquire one from outside the organization.Felix Doubront figures to be in the mix, too, perhaps even as the primary lefty.

29 Comments

Maybe Curt Young can fix Paps (and Beck, Dice-k, and Lackey) mechanics and whatever. But Pap has to learn to fix his ego and know when to shut up and pitch first.

I have to chuckle at all the talk about what’s going to happen to Paps with the Sox attempt to get Rivera (over 40) and Jenks (who has never had a year that measured up to most of Paps’s). The closer role is still Paps to lose. They are trying to get solid 6th or 7th inning guys, period. Jenks will be great! If it puts a little pressure on Paps, all the better.

Arnie,
Papelbon for Masterson? Are you kidding. Fantastic idea. Dump Papelbon for Masterson. I’m all for it but Masterson has settled down and is proving to almost the ace of the staff in Cleveland. Still a dumb trade in my opinion. Short term vs. long term. Cleveland got the best of the deal.
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Sox gave up some really great talent for Gonsalez. I realize the Sox need headliners but what we forget is that the NON-headliners are the aces of our team. Dustin, Youk, Clay B., Lowrie, Bard have tons of talent and came from the farm. They fail to make headlines. Just because you dump money on a player doesn’t mean you’ll get a great player but somehow many fans think that the more you pay for him the better he is. Not true. At some point there isn’t any player than can compete with the salary he’s given. C.C. is an amazing pitcher but at his salary he should be getting no hitters every game. Not possible of course and that’s my point.
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Incidentally, see the Rivera bid for what it was, which was to make the Yanks pay more for him. The Sox had NO intention of getting him and everyone knew Rivera would not go elsewhere.
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I want Papelbon to go because of his big fat ego and salary demands. Yes he’s a premeire in the game but he’s on a steady decline. Papelbon will work his tail off this year to sell himself and certainly go elsewhere. We know what team he wants. Certainly he’s not the only Red Sox player in history that sung that tune (Clemens, Boggs, etc.)
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Nuff said,

Andy, I’d like to see Wheeler pitch for the Sox, also– or, at the very least, not against us in the AL East! I think Wheeler would be a good pickup for us, apart from how well Jenks or anyone else does for us. BrazilBosox is right, this may light a fire under Pap, at the very least! We’ll see! GO SOX!

Arnie,
Masterson finished strong. He posted a 2.86 ERA after Aug. 4. He’s going to be tough and Cleveland is having him second in the rotation.
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Jenks is an excellent closer but the Sox poured a lot of money into a man with an injury problem from last year. However, if this was just a bad year this will mean he’s tough and will do well. I’m slightly worried about Gonsalez. He did get over surgery, correct me if I’m wrong. I hope he will return to form.
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The Sox keep dumping great talent on the market using free agents, that they are paying a lot for to fill those holes. Unfortunately we don’t want to wait for rebuilding years and the Sox could use a couple to get some of that talent and keep it.
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I think the big thing is Beckett and Lackey. If they pitch like they did last year, its going to be a LONG season.

Dave, I’m not so sure Masterson is settling in almost as the ace in Cleveland,,,he was 6-13 last year with a 4.70 ERA,,,,, but he has talent and thrives on pressure seemingly. He’d fit in well in Boston, I think.
Pap will also do better next year if he is pushed a little by Jenks and Bard. He has a competitive nature and it’s a contract year for him. He’ll be good to go.
The Sox are going to be tough next year.

We would all (Most of us) like to see Masterson back in a RedSox uniform. But I don’t think he will be an “ace” for the Indians or anyone else unfortunately. If he does return to the RedSox I am sure it will be as a member of the bullpen. (Where else do they have room, no ones is going to be leaving the rotation) He could also be a spot starter.
How can anyone say that Youk and Pedy fail to make the headlines?? The have been headliners since they each started here.
As far as the RedSox giving up really great talent for Gonzalez, that’s all we have down on the farm is really great talent. That’s one of the things that I always HAD trouble with; growing the talent and then trading it off. But that’s one of the reasons we have them in the system. I don’t have that problem any more. We all (for the most part) sit here and b*i*t*c*h* when Theo sits on his butt and doesnt do anything to make the Sox a better team that will win NOW, then when he does, we question why he would give up Kelly, Rizzo and Fuentes for Gonzalez.
If you look at it from the minor leaguer’s point of view Kelly will probably have a better chance of moving up with the Padres.
Down on the farm if you leave your product on the vine too long it is apt to rot.
I don’t think that Bobby Jenks will be the closer, I also don’t think he signs a contract without his role being thoroughly spelled out for him.
I think that the moves that have been made this off season have been good ones;I for one am happy with what Theo has done this off season.
(she steps down from the soapbox)

One more thing and I’ll shut up for a while. As far as Cleveland getting the better end of the Martinez/Masterson swap? I think that you are wrong Dave. I don’t think that the Sox would have made it to the post season (for the short time we were there) in 09 had it not been for Victor Martinez and the Sox would not have hung around as long as they did in 2010 had he not been behind the plate or at the plate. Ask someone from Cleveland who they would rather have, Martinez or Masterson? I’m sure that you’d find that they were as unhappy(or more so) with the deal as you have been.

It seems that the Royals may be considering trading Greinke and are rumored to be in the market for a shortstop, centerfielder and pitcher. Maybe we can accomodate them with Scutaro, Cameron and Dice-K. That would be interesting. I mentioned such a suggestion a while back but it seems that someone mentioned that Greinke has some emotional problems. If he came to the Sox he will either be cured or he may jump off the Green Monster. There was a time back when the Sox had a bunch of crazies (admittedly different) and we won the WS. Who Knows????

The bullpen as it presently constitutes Pap, Bard, Jenks, Wheeler, Atchison, possibly Prince Felix, and one or two of Theo’s recent ML acquistions. And hope Curt Y can turn Beck and Lackey around. If the Sox don’t win 95+ games in 2011, it will be a gross disappointment barring key injuries.

Hats off to Theo, hopefully (for those off us who have been b*i*t*c*h*i*n*g for the past 2 years) we can finally put those sagging soapboxes away (atleast till Spring Training). The key to this season as in any other is going to be health and of course starting pitching… Ellen climb on that soapbox anytime your points are valid ones… Tom

Ellen,
My hats off to you. You are passionate about the Sox. I apologize if I got too cranky. I guess I am slightly pessemistic but if I can temper than for the moment, I will say I agree we needed some star power and some punch that would excite the fans and the management. Theo did just that. I guess I just worry about losing great talent in the process but that happens.
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On other fronts, the Sox are doing a decent job getting some arms in the pen. I like the White Sox pitcher a lot but I worry about his injury. If he comes to form, by, by Papelbon.

I am very glad we picked up Wheeler– he is another former Ray who was more than a pain for our lineup. He seemed to like pitching in the Fenway atmosphere– I hope he contines to do well, now that he is with us!
If Masterson were to return to the Sox, he’d have ended up in the BP. I don’t see that happening now, barring any other significant moves. I do think he’d have settled back in, in Fenway, and would have done well.
Good work, Theo! GO SOX!

Interesting proposal, Phil. I still don’t think Greinke would be the guy to make that trade for. But, stranger things have happened, you are certainly right! GO SOX!

Dave, I didn’t realize Masterson had such a good second half.
Cleveland would be wise to keep him, but you never know.

One thing is certain; Theo has helped make this blog a bit more lively. That’s a good thing.

The Sox are one lefty reliever away from being complete. Prince Felix can fit in well in the role. Let the season begin.

Greinke to the BREWERS???!! HUH???

I believe the Brewers were on Greinke’s no trade list but that just appeared to be a negotiation trick for something Greinke wanted. That may be revealed shortly.

REAL TIME POST OUT OF ORDER:
I believe the Brewers were on Greinke’s no trade list but that just appeared to be a negotiation trick for something Greinke wanted. That may be revealed shortly.

Better to the Brewers than the Yanks!

I wouldn’t dispute that, Phil! I guess the Brewers weren’t on the No Trade List! Go figure! I’ll take Greinke anywhere in the NL!! But how many had the Brewers on the Greinke Short List? GO SOX!

I like the Wheeler signing — he always pitched very well against us (hopefully he will pitch as well for us); he was a significant factor in many of the holds for TB against us.

>> AHHHH….Lugo back with the Red Sox <<
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Theo has done a stupid move. We have Julio Lugo back on our team. Apparently Theo wasn’t satisfied with Mark Scatterthrow and traded both him, Jonathan Papelbon, Dice-K and Ellsbury to the Orioles for good ole Julio Lugo. Theo called this “the best trade I’ve done yet and one that will solidify the Sox to another World Series title. Julio has World Series experience and I feel that I need trades like this to solidify my reputation in Boston. The fans will certainly have opinions about this trade but I have to think about the team first. ”
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Papelbon’s loss will hurt and losing Ellsbury? What was Theo thinking but the story is not over. Theo then dumped Lugo fifteen minutes later saying that “what was I thinking? I mean I must have been high on speed! No wonder they call me Elmer Epstein. Oh well…bridge year.”
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Merry Christmas!!

OK Dave,
Time to take those meds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL. BTW….You have to give up something to get something. We’ll see how it all pans out but I know one thing…those young guys we gave up have not made an impact yet at the Major League level…the guys we picked up have…and have done so at a high level…prospects for a sure thing is a good percentage….I’m just glad Theo took some action because we all know taking some kind of action is better than sitting by and watching your opponent get better. That seems to be what the Yankees are doing this year….their fans must be getting real restless…especially with Greinke going to the Brewers……just remember…we were all feeling that way last year. At least Theo is making things interesting…..Go Sox!!!!!

>> Julio Lugo made manager of Red Sox <<
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After this disaster of a trade, Theo, hoping to recover his dignity, signed Julio Lugo as manager of the Red Sox, in effect firing Terry Francona and making Francona the hot dog and popcorn seller in the game. Tito was excited and said, “the main income for a lot of the park is the concessions and who wouldn’t buy from me. Granted I have a heart condition and i’ll probably be mauled by the fans trying to get my autograph but when you work with Elmer Epstein you have to make concessions. Get it, concessions? Ya, just getting that ballpark humor ready for the spring. ”
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Merry Christmas everyone.
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Lugnuts is unavailable to MLB this year. He was designated to work undercover in Afghanistan to teach the Taliban the proper way to throw hand grenades in an accurate manner. If he pulls it off he may receive some sort of medal.

Santa Claus is an avid Red Sox fan. He was not happy watching Lugnuts play when Lugnuts was with the Sox. Lugnuts showed up at Santa’s house yesterday with a Christmas tree and asked Santa where he wanted him to put the tree. Thus the birth of the Lunut “angel” ornament. Go Sox….

“If he pulls it off”– referring to the grenade pin? Hmmm… ;)
I’m not saying, by any means, that Theo is done making moves, esp. since we have too many “closers” right now. Nevertheless, it is nice to see how formidable our team can be– and December is not even over, yet! Can we start the season now? ;) Good work, Theo– keep going! GO SOX!

I see that Bill Hall has signed with the Astros. Good luck to him (granted, he may need it in Houston)– Hall was a better player on our team than I expected him to be, and his versatility came very much in handy, with all our injuries last year. Way to go, Bill Hall!
GO SOX!

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