Tag:Jonathan Papelbon
Posted on: March 8, 2012 2:34 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 2:36 pm
 

Papelbon: Philly fans know more than Boston fans

By Matt Snyder

New Phillies closer -- and former Red Sox closer -- Jonathan Papelbon has never been afraid to speak his mind. Thursday morning, he did so on a CBS radio affiliate in Philadelphia -- and it likely won't endear him any further to the Boston fans he left via free agency.

“The difference between Boston and Philadelphia, the Boston fans are a little bit more hysterical when it comes to the game of baseball,” Papelbon said (CBS Local). “The Philly fans tend to know the game a little better, being in the National League, you know, the way the game is played."

To be fair, it's tough to tell if an athlete is pandering to a new fan base when something like this is said, and he did say he enjoyed the Boston fans.

"I’ve had a guy take of his prosthetic leg and throw it in the bullpen in Boston,” Papelbon said (CBS Local). “It’s a religion. It’s a way of life. They come to the field and they expect certain things out of players. It’s an environment where you put up or shut up. I enjoyed that. It got my motor running every day.”

So he wasn't attacking Boston or the Red Sox fans. Still, he did say Phillies fans are more knowledgeable and I can't imagine that sits well with Boston fans.

What say you, fans, was he right? Go ahead and vote, hash it out in the comments, whatever you wish ...



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Posted on: March 6, 2012 6:25 pm
 

Papelbon needs a new entrance song

Jonathan Papelbon

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Jonathan Papelbon will not be shipping up to Boston anytime soon -- as the band the Dropkick Murphys say the new Phillies closer can no longer use their song as his entrance music.

Dropkick Murphys bassist and singer Ken Casey told ESPN the band doesn't want anyone other than a Red Sox closer using the song.
"He can't use 'Shipping Up To Boston,'" Casey said. "That's a Boston song. One of the Philadelphia radio guys suggested 'Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya.'

"And I have to get with the new Sox closer [Andrew Bailey] to let him know he can use 'Shipping Up To Boston,'" Casey adds. "That's not Pap's song. That's the closer's song."
Of course, as Deadspin noted, it's not a song that belongs complete to the Boston band, since the words were written by Oklahoman Woody Guthrie. According to the ever-accurate Wikipedia, it's also used by the Philadelphia Flyers, among other hockey teams, during their games.

It's not unheard of for a band to ask a closer not to use their music. After John Rocker made his infamous comments disparaging immigrants and homosexuals in 1999, Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French asked that the then-Braves closer cease using the song "I Wanna Rock." He didn't and he was never the same. Phillies fans better hope the "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" isn't Papelbon's version of Sampson's hair.

So, what song should Papelbon use? Well, there's "Sailing to Phialdephia" by Mark Knopfler, Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia" and Hall and Oats' "Fall in Philadelphia." But in the end, there's probably only one real choice:



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Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:41 pm
 

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies



By Matt Snyder


The 2011 Phillies sported an MLB-best 102-60 regular-season record, but then lost a heartbreaking Game 5 in the NLDS, 1-0, to the eventual World Champion Cardinals. Rubbing salt in the wound was slugger Ryan Howard tearing his Achilles tendon on the final out of Game 5. He's expected to miss around two months. With him missing time, the Phillies aging stars a year older and a much tougher division in 2012, is the window of opportunity for another World Series title starting to close with this nucleus? It's certainly not closed, but it may be headed that way.

Major additions: RHP Jonathan Papelbon, OF/IF Laynce Nix, IF Ty Wigginton, 1B Jim Thome
Major departures: OF Faul Ibanez, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Roy Oswalt, RHP Brad Lidge, OF Ben Francisco

Probable lineup
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Hunter Pence, RF
5. Jim Thome/Ty Wigginton/Laynce Nix, 1B
6. John Mayberry, LF
7. Placido Polanco, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Ryan Howard will obviously man 1B and slide in the lineup at cleanup when he's ready to take the field, but it doesn't sound like that's happening until late May, if not later.

Probable rotation
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Cole Hamels
4. Vance Worley
5. Joe Blanton

Kyle Kendrick waiting in the wings if someone goes down.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Set-up: Antonio Bastardo

Important bench players

C Brian Schneider, OF Juan Pierre and whoever isn't starting at 1B (see lineup above)

Prospect to watch
Domonic Brown isn't a prospect anymore and much of the Phillies top prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors, so it's slim pickings here -- as to be expected with an elite, veteran club. I'll go with Phillipe Aumont, a relief pitcher headed for Triple-A. The 23-year-old had a 3.18 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings once he was promoted to Triple-A last season. Control was an issue, as he walked 14 guys, leading to a 1.54 WHIP, but he certainly has the strikeout capability to contribute to the bullpen later in the season if he gets things figured out. Considering the Phillies are counting on the likes of Jose Contreras, Chad Qualls and Dontrelle Willis in the bullpen, the chances an injury or underperformance open up a spot in the 'pen after a few months are pretty good.

Fantasy bust: Hunter Pence
"Before you hop aboard the hype train and ride it all the way to crazy town, you might want to remind yourself that theonly aspect of his game that changed for the better last year was his batting average. He didn't gain any power. He didn't walk more or strike out less. He didn't fundamentally change as a player. He simply got better results, putting together a .361 BABIP instead of his usual .305 or so. It wouldn't be the first time. He had a .377 BABIP as a rookie in 2007, when he hit .322. But the peripherals suggested it was too good to be true then, and they do now as well. Pence is an asset in Fantasy because of his job security and 20-homer power, but he's a .280 hitter who can't take a walk." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]

Fantasy sleeper: John Mayberry
"General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made the comparison. Manager Charlie Manuel has made the comparison. It's Mayberry's identity now: the next Jayson Werth. For the Fantasy owners who have played long enough to remember when Werth rose from obscurity to put together a 20-20 season in 2008, that's cause for celebration. But is it a reasonable expectation? Hey, Mayberry is more of a certainty now than Werth was then, having hit 15 homers in 267 at-bats last year. Like Werth, he's a former first-round pick who, like Werth, didn't begin to meet his potential until his late 20s. And like Werth, he happens to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]

Optimistic outlook
World Series champs. By now, anything less is a disappointment for a group with so much talent and postseason experience.

Pessimistic outlook
The offense badly struggles without Howard -- who falls behind in his rehab and misses three months -- with age declines limiting production from the likes of Utley, Rollins and Polanco. Worley comes back to Earth after his insane 2011 season and Blanton continues to struggle with injuries. Even with all that, the Phillies would still be good enough to be a playoff contender, even in the mighty NL East, due to the new two-wild-card playoff format. It's hard to envision enough things going wrong to have them finish below the Braves, Marlins and Nationals. Maybe two of the three -- in a worst-case scenario -- but not all three.

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Posted on: January 26, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 3:38 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?



By C. Trent Rosecrans


One of the most volatile positions on the field is closer -- one minute a guy is lights-out, the next he's teaching High School phys ed, like Kenny Powers. The few guys you can count on can count on big bucks, and even some with questions can still get big money.

Don't want to shell out big money on a big-name closer? Sometimes young guys can get the job done at a fraction of the cost with a young pitcher with a live arm. While the Phillies and Marlins have dolled out a combined $77 million this offseason, two other teams in the National League East will pay less than $1 million combined for two guys who saved 15 more games than the Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell combined in 2011 -- Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel and Washington's Drew Storen. So, for today's penultimate matchup in the Would You Rather Have? series, it's two young, NL East closers.

Would You Rather Have
The case for Storen

Storen was the Nationals' second pick in the 2009 draft, but first to make the majors, beating Stephen Strasburg to D.C. He picked up five saves in 2010, before starting out 2011 as the team's full-time closer. He finished 2011 with 43 saves and nearly a strikeout an inning. He has a fastball that averages 95 mph and a very good slider, to boot. His changeup isn't great, but as a one-inning guy, two pitches are plenty.

In addition to his strikeout rate, he allowed just 2.39 walks per nine innings, a number that was better than his first year. He also bettered his strikeout rate (8.84 strikeouts per nine innings), ground ball rate (47.3 percent), left-on-base percentage (81.1 percent), ERA (2.75) and xFIP (3.14). Storen -- despite some questionable coaching from CBSSports.com blogger Matt Snyder earlier in life (true story) -- appears to be improving and could get even better than he was in 2011. Although it should be noted his batting average on balls in play dropped by .050 last season, from .296 in 2010 to .246 in 2011.

The case for Kimbrel

Kimbrel was a unanimous choice for National League Rookie of the Year -- and for good reason. He was nearly unhittable. The right-hander had a 1.039 WHIP while leading the National League with 46 saves and putting up just a 2.10 ERA. In 77 innings -- and 79 games -- Kimbrel struck out 127 batters, walking 32. He did that all while allowing a .314 batting average on balls in play.

Like Storen, Kimbrel gets by on his mid-90s fastball and a slider, both above-average pitches.

Another thing to love about the two pitchers is that they're both under team control through the 2016 season, although Storen is likely to be a Super Two, giving him an extra year of arbitration starting next season.

Our call

With apologies to Storen, this one isn't that close. Kimbrel's a little younger, will have one less arbitration year and is probably just flat better. The only question is how Kimbrel handles the workload he was handed by manager Fredi Gonzalez last season, when he put up a 4.76 ERA in the last month of the season. While he faced just three more batters and pitched only 1 2/3 innings more than Storen, his higher walk rate and strikeout rate means he threw 1,314 pitches in 2011 to 1,100 by Storen. Still, neither has been injured at the big-league level and expect Gonzalez to learn from his mistakes. Storen's a good pitcher, but Kimbrel's an easy pick here.

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Storen or Kimbrel on your favorite team?



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Posted on: January 5, 2012 1:11 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 1:12 pm
 

Angels GM says team 'unlikely' to sign Madson

Ryan Madson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Where will Ryan Madson end up? Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto says it's probably not going to be Anaheim.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Dipoto, the first-year Angels GM told the Los Angeles Times that it's "very, very unlikely" the Angels would add Madson or any closer.

"What I'll say with some degree of certainty is that our most dignificant acquisitions have already been made," Dipoto said.

"We're trying to add depth, and in a perfect world, we'd like to find another guy to join Jordan Walden, Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins to help with those last nine outs. But closer has never been a real priority."

Of course, this could also be posturing by Dipoto.  

Walden, 24, recorded 32 saves with a 2.98 ERA as a rookie in 2012. Walden made the All-Star team after starting the season with 20 saves and a 2.84 ERA in the first half. In the second half of the season, he had 12 saves and a 3.22 ERA. Walden struck out 10 batters per nine innings and 3.9 walks per nine. It had been rumored the team wanted to upgrade at the back of the bullpen.

And then there's Madson, who had 32 saves and a 2.37 ERA in his first season as the Phillies closer. Early in the offseason there was a report Madson had agreed to a deal with Philadelphia for four years and $44 million, but then the team signed Jonathan Papelbon instead.

There are few teams still looking for a closer, with the Reds being the team with the most glaring need. However, the Reds don't have the type of money to sign Madson to a huge deal. Cincinnati is currently in talks with incumbent reliever Francisco Cordero to bring him back on a one-year deal.

Madson could try to find a deal like the Yankees gave Rafael Soriano a year ago to be a high-priced set-up man -- even though that didn't exactly work out for the Yankees. Madson and Soriano are both represented by Scott Boras.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 5:24 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 6:04 pm
 

Red Sox get Bailey, Sweeney from A's

Andrew Bailey

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Red Sox have their closer, acquiring Andrew Bailey from the A's, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports. The Red Sox sent outfielder Josh Reddick along with minor-league third baseman Miles Head and right-handed pitcher Raul Alcantara, while sending outfielder Ryan Sweeney to Boston along with Bailey.

Josh ReddickBailey is the third pitcher the A's have traded this season, along with starters Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez

Bailey, 27, will replace Jonathan Papelbon, who signed with the Phillies, as the Red Sox closer. A two-time All-Star, Bailey has 75 saves in his first three seasons with a 2.07 ERA. He had 24 saves and a career-high 3.24 ERA in 2010.

Reddick, 24, has struggled to find time in the Red Sox lineup, but managed to play 87 games in 2011, logging 278 plate appearances, hitting .280/.327/.457 with seven home runs and 28 RBI.

The 20-year-old Head hit .299/.372/.515 with 22 homers and 82 RBI at both Class A levels, splitting his time almost equally between Greenville and Salem. Alcantara, 19, started 13 games in the rookie league and short-season Class Am going 1-4 with a 2.20 ERA, striking out 50 batters in 65 1/3 innings.

Boston also gets the 26-year-old Sweeney, who hit .265/.346/.341 last season for the A's, but has hit just 14 homers over parts of six seasons with the White Sox and A's. Sweeney is arbitration-eligible, as is Bailey.

Last week after the Gonzalez trade, A's general manager Billy Beane said the team was looking to rebuild in hopes of having a young, talented team in time for a new stadium.

Bailey joins the new-look bullpen in Boston along with recently acquired Mark Melancon, while Sweeney will work in a platoon role in the Boston outfield.  

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:19 am
 

Homegrown Team: Philadelphia Phillies



By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Phillies recently doled out $50 million to Jonathan Papelbon and last year gave Cliff Lee $120 million -- make no mistake, the Phillies are a large-market club using its money to lure top free agents. They've also sent prospects to get Roy Halladay in recent years, so there's been enough talent in the system to lure other teams into making big trades. This team knows what it wants and goes and get it -- by any means necessary. In this exercise, that's not possible. The Phillies, in this hypothetical, aren't the prohibitive favorite they were for the majority of 2011, but they're hardly the Cubs.

Lineup

1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Jimmy Rollins, SS
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Scott Rolen, 3B
6. Marlon Byrd, LF
7. Domonic Brown, RF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Starting Rotation

1. Cole Hamels
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Vance Worley
4. Randy Wolf
5. Brett Myers

Bullpen

Closer - Ryan Madson
Set up - Antonio Bastardo, Alfredo Simon, Brad Ziegler, Michael Stutes, Kyle Kendrick
Long - J.A. Happ

Notable Bench Players

Nick Punto can play a ton of positions, but, well... There's also Pat Burrell and Jason Jaramillo, which may not be deepest bench.

What's Good?

The lineup -- when healthy -- is still pretty darn good. The rotation, while not exactly the historic rotation that the Phillies rolled out in 2011, is nothing to sneeze at and the bullpen is deep and talented. There's a bit to like here in all aspects of the game.

What's Not?

The health question, and age, are huge here. Utley, while still a very good player when he's on the field, he's had a multitude of injuries. Rolen played in just 65 games last season (for the Reds). Brown has yet to establish himself as an everyday player, but he is talented. And then there's the bench, which has Punto to play every position, but not much else. 

Comparison to real 2011

This team may be in the wild card race, but there's no way it finishes 102-60.  That said, there's a chance it could compete for the NL East title (even though I do love the Braves chances in this exercise). The starting pitching isn't as good, but the bullpen has enough arms to keep things close. There's also so depth that's not listed on this roster in guys like Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman that aren't going to wow you, but certainly help depth-wise and could play a role as a spot starter or in the bullpen in the course of a long season. The Phillies may buy some players, but they've also developed enough to stay competitive.

Next: Chicago White Sox

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:39 am
 

Phillies tried to lure Wagner out of retirement



By Matt Snyder

The Phillies really wanted an "established" closer. They wanted one so badly that they called Billy Wagner after the 2011 regular season ended.

“It was after the regular season ... just to see if I was even contemplating coming back or had an itch or anything,” Wagner said (New York Post). “I just told them, ‘No, I do not have an itch.'"

This came well before the Phillies eventually signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract.

Wagner, 40, retired after a sparkling 2010 season -- one in which he made his seventh All-Star team. Wagner served as closer for the Astros, Mets, Phillies and Braves while also setting up for Papelbon in Boston for a half season. With 422 career saves, he's fifth on the all-time list behind Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Lee Smith and John Franco.

Wagner told the Post he's currently very happy serving simply as a JV baseball coach.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com