Phillies sign Jonathan Papelbon

RAB Live Chat
The RAB Radio Show: November 11, 2011

Jonathan Papelbon has faced the Yankees 46 times in his career, but it could be a long time until he reaches appearance No. 47. After spending the first seven seasons of his big league career with the Red Sox, Papelbon will pitch for the Phillies in 2012 and beyond. Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet reports that the Phillies have signed Papelbon to be their closer. That pushes out Ryan Madson, with whom the Phillies reportedly had a deal earlier in the week. That apparently was a false report and was never as far along as reports indicted. There’s no word on contract terms yet, but that’s just a matter of time. Papelbon is one face that Yankees fans won’t mind missing, though he has been part to some of our favorite comebacks in the past few years.

Update (2:39 p.m.): Salisbury tweets that the deal is “four years and approaches $50 million.” That’s definitely the kind of payday Papelbon has repeatedly said he seeks in free agency.

RAB Live Chat
The RAB Radio Show: November 11, 2011
  • Gonzo

    Anyone else find this a little comical?

    • Gonzalo

      Oh yea, it is a joke.

  • uncleargyle

    Red Sox will sign madson I assume

  • Gonzo

    4 years at roughly $50mm? Really? Wow, Ruben Amaro Jr. is really going for…I don’t know what he’s going for.

    • Slugger27

      hes obviously going for as many championship runs as possible in this 2-3 year window they have to be really really good

      • Gonzo

        I was just making a joke. It’s obvious that Amaro has had that MO for the past couple years.

    • Pat D

      Harry Doyle: “So they’re going to walk Beck to get to Parkman. Obviously Taylor’s thinking…I don’t know WHAT the heck he’s thinking!”

  • bobtaco

    Maybe Ruben Amaro Jr. puts a lot of stock in Mayan prophecy?

  • mike

    interesting to see what the Sox do now….Bard?

    also makes the deal for Soriano look better..

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

      No, the Soriano deal still sucks plain and simple. This doesn’t make it look better at all to me.

      As for the Phillies…cool. One more d-bag on a team I already loathe. Excellent!

      • Cliff Lee

        I want to play with a team that has a chance to win every year.

        • Gonzo

          You forgot that you won’t play for old teams too, right?

    • GT Yankee

      I’m lovin’ this for the Yanks. Yeah Paps had his moments of meltdowns, but honestly

      Papelbon>Madsen>Rodriguez>Nathan(3 years ago he’s ahead of all)

      They clearly cannot go with Bard
      Keep in mind the AL East is NOT the NL East, NL Central of AL Central

      Someone mentioned this eating into Hammels money and I’m REALLY lovin’ that as well

  • I Voted 4 Kodos

    There are few words that properly describe how happy I am we won’t have to see asshole-mouth take the mound anymore.

    • Steve in PDX

      I dunno, I thoroughly enjoyed watching his meltdowns.

      • David N

        On the plus side, best we could do before is kick his ass in the ALCS. Now we can do it in the World Series.

      • I Voted 4 Kodos

        I loved his meltdowns too, but I hated his face so much that his successes were torturous.

  • Steve H.

    Papelbon has been historically great for 6 years, even Mo-like. This is a fine deal, despite what some fangraphs calculator might say. To have one of the truly elite closers in baseball makes life easier for the Phillies. While in general you can plug guys in and have good performances for a year or two out of the pen, to have a guy in the back as good as Paps is helps set everything else up.

    • Basement Nerd

      but but the short sample size.

    • Steve (different one)

      My initial reaction was wtf? But I’m coming around to this view. The contract is not that crazy and prob a good move for Philly. The only thing I will say about Papelbon and his “historical” greatness, is that we haven’t seen THAT Papelbon in 2 years. He’s not that guy anymore, but he’s still very good.

      • Ted Nelson

        He had a really good 2011

  •!/EricDKoch Eric

    Phillies have- what– a 3 or 4 year window anyways? Might as well go for it with someone (as much as I hate saying it) who has generally been a very good closer over his career.

  • Karl Krawfid

    I called this a few months ago.

    I am the man.

  • pat

    Awesome. Less money for Hole Camels.

    • Dave203

      Not paying Hammels would be insane for them right now. This proves they are going all in for the next 3-4 years and losing Hammels, would be a tough loss.

      I hope you’re right though — Hammels would be a nice sign for the Yanks in 2012.

    • Gonzo

      I know Coal, He always goes to the outside.

      • B-Rando

        Love the Days of Thunder ref.

  • Cy Pettitte

    look what the Benoit and Soriano contracts have done to the RP market. this is insanity.

    • Cy Pettitte!/jaysonst/statuses/135086642443714561

      Now hearing Papelbon’s deal with Phillies will include a vesting option. If exercised, would make total package worth more than $60 million.


    • Steve (different one)

      The relief market was crazy before those two deals. Remember Cordero? BJ Ryan? It’s been crazy for a long time.

      • JAG

        To be fair, it’s only indicative of that if the lower-level relievers get those kinds of deals. Papelbon (as much as we may hate him) is an elite closer well worthy of a top-shelf deal regardless of the market. The real question is what does Joe Nathan or Brad Lidge get.

  • Gonzo

    They should have dealt us Dom Brown for A-Rod if he’s in a spending mood.

  • Steve H.

    In 2000 a 30 year old (non free-agent) closer with a career 2.63 ERA (180 ERA+), 7.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9 and 165 saves got a 4 year/$40 million deal.

    In 2011 a 30 year old free agent Papelbon with a career 2.33 ERA (197 ERA+), 10.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/8, 0.6 HR/9 and 219 saves got a 4 year/$50 million deal.

    11 years of inflation (baseball inflation) and only an extra $2.5 mill/year for a guy who was actually on the open market.

    So was Mo a dumb contract, an overpay, in 2000?

    • Gonzo

      If you take out Mo’s 1st year when he started 10 games and bounced around a little, he had a 223 ERA+ in the previous 5 seasons.

      • Gonzo

        Pap’s previous 5 years before this contract yielded an awesome, but not Mo-Like, 176+ ERA. To put that in perspective. Mo has only had a lower than 176 ERA+ in 3 seasons (excluding that 1st year when he started 10 games). That’s only 3 seasons out of 16.

      • Steve H.

        Mo did pitch those innings though (and Paps had a few starts worked in). Over a 6 year span, Paps has been as good as Mo was. I get not signing just any reliever to a long term deal, but Paps is not just any reliever.

        • CP

          So you think that 50 innings pitched 5 years ago should impact the deal that a pitcher gets?

        • Gonzo

          Paps had 3 starts in his first year. I excluded those above as I compared them both for the previous 5 years.

          I know Paps is awesome, but he’s no Mo. I just used the metrics you chose to show that he wasn’t.

          If you want to weigh games that occured in a different role and furthest from the contract signing, I disagree in that logic. No biggie.

    • Plank

      In hindsight I would say it was (Though I don’t use the term overpay.) The Yankees could have possibly won the WS in 2001 for one without Mo.

      I think it goes more toward the fact that closers are valued differently than they were in 2000.

    • CP

      So was Mo a dumb contract, an overpay, in 2000?


      Just like Jeter and A-Rod in that same offseason.

      The problem with relievers is that they’re so inconsistent that almost none of them live up to their long term deals.

      • Steve H.

        Most of them don’t, but most of them don’t have the track record of Papelbon. As @Cephster said on twitter: “reliever volatility is precisely why you spend extra for the guys who prove consistent”

        I think that is a very good point. You can always find just any guy to accumulate saves, but there are few elite guys who have shown the ability to remain consistent.

        • CP

          there are few elite guys who have shown the ability to remain consistent.

          He hasn’t shown the ability to ‘remain consistent’. He has shown that in the past he was consistent. Too bad you’re not signing his 2006-20011 seasons.

          Joe Nathan had a 216 ERA+ from 2003 through 2009, had only two seasons with an ERA over 2.1 and pitched at least 64 games each season. Then he blew out his arm.

          Francisco Rodriguez had a 190 ERA+ from 2002 through 2008 and only had an ERA over 3 in his rookie season. How’d that work out for the Mets?

          The moral is that relievers are not consistent. There is no one that has ‘proven consistent’ (except for Mo).

          • Steve H.

            There have been plenty of relievers who have been consistent. Mo is in a class of his own, but he’s far from the only closer to have been consistent for 10 years.

            • Gonzo

              How many relievers remain consistent after signing a big, multi-year, FA contract?

              • Steve H.

                Why does the contract length matter when discussing relievers who have been consistent for 10 years? If a guy was consistent for 10 years on 10 1 year deals or 1 10 year deal, the consistency is there.

                • Gonzo

                  I think it’s very relevant since the title of this article is Phillies sign Jonathan Papelbon.

                  Also, your post was specifically about signing two relievers to big contracts. You even compared salaries, years, and everything.

                  I apologize if I am out of line, but I think it’s very relevant.

                  • Steve H.

                    My point is that relievers can have consistent 10 year runs, regardless of contract length.

                    • Gonzo

                      Ok, my point is that big deals for relievers very rarely work out. No big whoop.

            • CP

              he’s far from the only closer to have been consistent for 10 years.

              Ok. Who?

              I’ll give you Billy Wagner (even though he never had 10 straight solid seasons) and Trevor Hoffman.

              Who else?

              • Steve H.

                Percival had 9. Nen had 8. Jeff Montgomery had 10. Wetteland had 9. Lee Smith. The Eck (who didn’t start closing until he was 2 years older than Pap will be), Quisenberry had 9 good years out of 10. John Franco. Jeff Reardon. Randy Myers. Francisco Cordero. Roberto Hernandez. Rick Aguilera.

                Now granted these guys weren’t consistent at Papelbon levels, because they were never that good. It shows that good closers can be consistent for long periods of time. Someone signing Kyle Farnsworth to a long term deal doesn’t automatically make signing Paps to a 4 year deal a bad thing.

              • Steve H.

                And K-Rod will likely joint the club in 2012.

      • Dave

        “The problem with relievers is that they’re so inconsistent that almost none of them live up to their long term deals.”

        Except Mo.

      • viridiana

        “The problem with relievers is that they’re so inconsistent that almost none of them live up to their long term deals.”

        Yeah, but the ones who are consistent are steals at the going rate because that rate is brought down by the others.

  • JohnnyBGoode


  • JohnnyBGoode


  • RetroRob

    Oh, crap. Madson’s a Boras client and in search of a job. I’m sure Levine will offer 3/40 for him to be the 6th-inning man!

  • RetroRob

    Am I the only one who think the Phillies should have stuck with Madson? I think he’s at least as good as Papelbon at this point, and moving forward I think there’s a better chance Madson will maintain his effectivness.

    Is Madson a Type A or Type B?

    • Gonzo

      Type A same as Paps.

      This is how silly the compensation system is. The Phillies could sign an A and lose an A but still gain a pick.

      • RetroRob

        In that case, the Phillies will gain to some degree. They had the best record in baseball, so the picks they get for Madson will come higher in the draft since any team that signs Madson will have had a worse record. They’ll flip their first-round pick and get a better drafting position.

    • Dave

      I disagree. Madson scares me with his velocity dips. If you are going to invest money, you do it in Papelbon.

  • MattG


    The Phillies are exhibit A that there is more than one way to build a dynasty. I more-or-less disagree with every move they make, but they continue to win.

    • Kei Brackman

      Don’t you have to win multiple World Series to be considered a dynasty?

      • MattG

        They’re a lesser dynasty, like Liao.

      • RetroRob

        Dynasty is a pretty fast-and-loose term. People in Boston believed they had a dynasty after 2007. They of course didn’t. Fans always want to elevate the stature of the teams they follow, believing their favorite team are a dynasty.

        Bill James did a study on periods of dominance by teams, finding a very high percentage ran their course in five or six seasons, before they fall back in the pack again and need to start rebuilding. A dynasty then really has to either exceed a five-year run, or reach an enourmous level of success within a five year period, such as winning multiple World Championships. The A’s of the 1970s could be considered a dynasty.

        To me a dynasty is a term that should be reserved for rare runs of brilliance, over a very long period of time, or spectacular dominance in a shorter period of time. The Yankees are one of the few teams to achieve a dynasty in baseball, and they’ve had numerous dynasty runs. In many ways, they are dynasty organization. The only one in baseball.

        • Jesse

          You could also say the Yankees from ’96-’01 was a dynasty as well.

          • Jesse


          • RetroRob

            Yes. Totally. I am including that version of the Yankees as a dynasty. Making it to five World Series, winning four, and three in a row is something we’ve rarely seen in all of baseball history, and it’s totally amazing with the new playoff structure. What that team did is as impressive as the Yankees teams that won five straight world championships.

            I just don’t know where that dynasty began and ended. I actually view it as ’94-’03, a ten-year run, with ’96-’01 the peak of the dynasty.

            With more perspective, time and history, the Yankees current dynasty might be viewed as still ongoing.

        • CP

          I thought the loosey-goosey times in baseball were over.

          • RetroRob

            Loosey-days never end!

  • DI

    Yay now I can hate the Phillies even more. Good riddance, Papeldouche!

    In all seriousness, I can’t believe the Phillies got suckered into signing this guy. He’s a decent closer, but surely they could have waited with so many closers on the market?

  • DPR

    I had a feeling that the Phillies would sign Papelbon, forcing the Sox to sign Madson. That way they trade draft picks. Paying 6 mil over 4 years for a slightly higher pick and a few more years of closer experience in Papelbon is probably worth it.

    • Jesse

      I had a feeling the same would happen, but something in my head just told me it wouldn’t happen. Oh well.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    I think the Phillies made a great move. Papelbon is no Mo but the guy can close and he’s been through the rigors of closing in the AL+ALE.

    I believe Boston made a big misstep in not signing him. He may leave a few over the plate but he is tough.

    • Gonzo

      FWIW, he was one of the guys that supposedly didn’t phone it in that last month of the season. At least according to some scribe. Who knows.

  • John

    We need a post of all Papelbon’s losses against the Yankees with videos embedded. That would be awesome. I would bookmark it for gray days.

    • Gonzo

      Excellent idea.

    • Mike Axisa

      Open thread. I was putting it together before I even saw this comment.

      • Jesse

        Awesome. Can’t wait.
        I’ll save that Open Thread forever.

      • David N

        Can you throw in the one against the Orioles too? I got almost as much of a kick out of that one as I did when the Yankees got to him.

      • JAG

        My favorite was actually the game he blew against the Rockies where Ian Stewart and Jason Giambi hit back-to-back homers to tie and then walk off.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    So long, dipshit. I hope you taken deep at Citifield early and often.

  • vinny-b

    pick-up the phone and talk to the new GM in Boston. Maybe he’s interested in Soriano


    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      No thanks. Would not want that one to come back and bite the Yanks in the ass. If you’re going to trade someone like that, trade them to where you won’t have to face them 17 times a year.

      • Billion$Bullpen

        I would be all for that deal depending on what we got back.

    • Steve (different one)

      In an imaginary world where these two teams would trade, soriano to the sox would be an excellent fit. Never happen on earth though.

  • Icebird753

    No matter what anyone says, this must sting for Boston…Papelbon is one of the best at his craft (see his career stats and postseason ERA, which is Mo-like dominant). Yea, he blew the last game of the season for Boston, but remember, Mo blew the save in do or die games in the 1994 ALDS and 2001 WS…just saying, Yankees fans, no one is perfect

    • ArchStanton

      The 1994 ALDS was a great series.

    • viridiana

      Don’t thinkj there was an ALDS in 94. You mean 97, I guess. 94 is the year Selig found yet another way to screw Yanks by saying there were no divsion winner even though Yanks were in 1st in early August when strike ended season.

      • Rainbow Connection

        Yanks fans are such victims.

  • SteveD

    in a hurry, dont have time to read everyones comments. wtf. hahaha are u kidding me. fu philly. idiots. that team is sinking.

  • your mom

    Wow! Never saw this coming. And now I hate the Phillies even more.

  • AC

    Phillies went with the sure thing and they paid $$ for it 4 yrs with a vesting option for a 5th Another blow for Sox Lol

  • Mickey S

    Maybe their transitioning him to the rotation and this is actually a steal!

  • http://RiverAve.Blues manman

    thanks nice artikel
    cooll man

  • Alibaba

    Good for them. Now there is a chance that Papelbon will blow a save in the WS and then take the loss while Mo will come in and show him how to save a game.