Saturday, June 20, 2009


Well, I hate to say "I told you so..."

Actually, I don't. But after all, anyone who has been paying attention knew long before last week's "Sox Superlatives" post and his comments since that odds are Papelbon will be Shipping Up to New York before long. Here's what Paps had to say about the whole thing, when asked directly if he would ever play for the Bronx Bombers:

"Oh, of course. I mean, I think if we can’t come to an agreement on terms here in a Red Sox uniform, I mean, I think that’s pretty much the writing on the wall. If they can’t come to terms with you they’re letting you know that, ‘Hey you know what? We can go somewhere else.’ And I think it’s the same way on the other side, ‘Hey if ya’ll can’t come to an agreement with me then I can go somewhere else.’ Not only in the Bronx, but anywhere. I think anywhere is a possibility. You always have to keep that in the back of your mind because you can’t just be one-sided and think that, ‘Oh I’m going to be in a Red Sox uniform my entire career.’ Because nowadays that is very, very rare and hopefully we can because there’s no question I would love to stay in a Boston Red Sox uniform but I have to do what’s best for me and play in an atmosphere where I’m wanted and play on a team where I’m wanted and that’s all I can really say about that, you know?"

He then backtracked a bit after realizing that his words could have serious repercussions for him down the road, claiming, "I don't want to play for the [expletive] Yankees." I'm going to take a wild guess and say that the "expletive" was one of those words we often see Youkilis and Pedroia use when they strike out.

However, even if Papelbon was a little more skilled in diplomacy (which, of course, would be most unlike him) and hadn't spilled his guts to the whole world, the writing was on the wall.

The Red Sox have demonstrated that they have worries about his longevity. Paps began his career as a starter, and after he made the switch to closer, the Sox wanted him to switch back, in order to protect his (already troublesome) arm. Remember Spring Training 2007? A little, maybe? Well, we were all excited to see Paps as a starter, but wondered who would be the closer. Luckily (?), Jonathan decided that he preferred the closer's role, the Sox went on to win the World Series, and the rest is history.

The Red Sox have demonstrated time and time again that they will not overpay to retain their talent, and it takes compromise on both sides to get a long term deal. The Pedroia/Youkilis/Lester deals of the offseason are case in point: club policy requires that the player forfeit at least one year of free agency and agree to a club option for a deal to get done that gives the player some long-term security. We all know how Papelbon feels about sacrificing a single year or dollar, having heard him spout off again and again about "setting the standard" for those at his position.

We know that New York has no qualms about overpaying for other teams' home grown talent: CC Sabathia, Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, Alex Rodriguez (thanks!)... You get the picture. The Steinbrenners are like small children in a candy store with Daddy's credit card, they'll buy anything that catches their fancy. With Mariano Rivera closing in on 40 (40!), and his contract due to expire after 2010, the Yanks will be looking for a viable replacement, and be willing to pay him top dollar.

To be honest, I'm pretty much okay with it. With his history, Papelbon will not have the longevity that Mo has enjoyed (is the guy even HUMAN?), and I think it's a safe bet that most of Papelbon's productive years will be spent pre-free-agency. Let him go, I say, and bring on Daniel Bard. Or, you know, whoever is next in line from the player development machine.
I wonder if the Yankees' fans will remember this?

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