11 November 2011

Phillies Sign Jonathan Papelbon: High Risk, High Reward

The first major move in the MLB offseason thus far has been made today as the Philadelphia Phillies, after what was thought to be a done deal with their free agent closer Ryan Madson fell apart, made a deal with Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon for four years and close to $50 million with a vesting option for a sixth year. This deal comes with a lot of risk for Philadelphia, but also a lot of reward.
Starting off with the risk, of course. This is an extremely large amount of money spent on a pitcher that pitches one inning a game and 60-70 innings (usually) per year. In fact, this is the largest contract for a releiver ever, more than the $47 million for five years that B.J. Ryan got from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2005, and that deal was an abject bust. Papelbon is known for being a little combustible on the mound and has been prone in the past to come up small in the clutch, such as what was his bowing out in Boston at the end of the 2011 regular season
That said, Papelbon is still one of the best closers in baseball and statistically was fantastic last year. And he is much more of a proven option as a closer than Madson was. Papelbon has 219 career saves while Madson has 52 and has never served an entire season as closer (wasn't initially in 2011), not to mention that Papelbon has thrown 200 fewer innings and is a few months younger. Plus Papelbon is just a guy that opponents love to hate thanks to his antics on the mound and his presence. He's a guy that has been there and done that as a closer, has a nice bit of postseason experience and has a ring.
The Phillies know they are taking a big risk, you always take a risk when bringing in relievers, who are some of the most inconsistent players in baseball. But this is a good move in my opinion and could pay off extremely well, like the last closer signing the Phillies made.

No comments:

Post a Comment