Tag:Jonathan Papelbon
Posted on: November 11, 2011 8:35 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 8:38 pm
 

Red Sox GM says he wants Ortiz back

David Ortiz

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Red Sox want David Ortiz back, general manager Ben Cherington said on Friday. Speaking to reporters after Tony Lovullo's post-interview news conference, Cherington said the team is still talking to Ortiz's agents.

"Because of what I feel, and I think he feels, is a little more of a defended market for that role, it's been easier to engage sooner," Cherington said (via WEEI.com). "It's probably less likely to be a situation where he gets into the market and there's something the he's pushed into a corner on. David knows we want him to be here. We want him to be back with the Red Sox. We want him in our lineup. We've had a lot of dialogue to see if there's a way to do that and I think that will continue."

If the Red Sox want Ortiz back, they'll probably get him. The market for designated hitters isn't strong and Ortiz is the best one on the market. The only other place he may fit would be Toronto, but the Blue Jays re-signed Edwin Encarnacion and say he'll be something of a utility player for them, even if DH is his best spot.

As for the news that former closer Jonathan Papelbon had signed with the Phillies, Cherington said the team hadn't made an offer to keep him. Cherington also said the team's first priority may not be a starting pitcher -- more because of the available names rather than the team's need.

"There are options, probably not as strong as the bullpen, closer market, the way we see it," Cherington told the assembled reporters. "There are option, but riskier and would require some sort of bounce back from injury or bad luck or performance to some degree. We're going to exhaustive in looking at ways to build depth to the rotation and the bullpen. We do believe we have some internal options that will help us. But past the sort of top of the starters market, there's a lot of risk there."

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Closer look at all 30 closing situations



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 and Matt Snyder

It appears the first domino in closer market has fallen (at least, we're pretty sure this time), but that leaves Heath Bell and Ryan Madson as the top relievers still available. But who needs a closer? Here's a look at the closing situation for all 30 teams.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg is still under contract -- much to the chagrin of new general manager Dan Duquette's chagrin. Gregg will make $5.8 million in 2012, not exactly ideal for a guy with a WHIP of 1.642 last season and an ERA of 4.37 while picking up 22 saves. Jim Johnson recorded nine saves and threw just 91 innings, but doesn't exactly miss a ton of bats. The Orioles could move Johnson to the rotation.
Possibilities: Gregg, Johnson, Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton.

Red Sox: Well, obviously Papelbon is gone. Papelbon was the Red Sox closer for the last six years, recording the final out of the 2007 World Series among other memories. Still, As untouchable as he was in his first four years as the closer (1.74 ERA and 0.917 WHIP from 2006-2009), he had a 3.43 ERA and 1.104 WHIP over the last two seasons. Daniel Bard is unhittable at times, but struggled in the last two months of the season (which certainly wasn't uncommon among Red Sox), posting a 6.95 ERA in 21 games in August and September.
Possibilities: Bard, Madson, Bell.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays let the Yankees overpay for Rafael Soriano and then picked up Kyle Farnsworth off the discard pile, signing him to a two-year, $6 million deal. In retrospect, it was genius -- Farnsworth had 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA in 2011 and the Rays will keep him another year and let someone else overpay him for 2013.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Francisco was the team's closer for much of 2011, but he's a free agent and the team could be looking to spend some money on a  closer.
Possibilities: Madson, Bell, Cordero, Rodriguez, Casey Janssen.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: Right-hander Sergio Santos converted 30 of 36 save opportunities, liming batters to just a .181/.282/.314 slash line and he should be in line to keep his job in 2012. If he falters, Addison Reed has a chance to take over.

Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez is on solid ground as the team's closer, picking up 35 saves in 2011.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers picked up the $9 million option on Jose Valverde.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals picked up the $6 million option on Joakim Soria and have options for 2013 and 2014.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins declined their $12.5 million option on incumbent Joe Nathan, but have expressed interest in bringing him back. Although his overall numbers -- 4.84 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 14 saves -- weren't too impressive, he did convert all 11 of his saves in the second half of the season. Left-hander Glen Perkins had two saves in 2011 and struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings. If the team doesn't sign a free agent -- or trade for someone -- Perkins would have the best shot.
Possibilities: Nathan, Perkins, Jon Rauch, Broxton.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels: Jordan Walden recorded 32 saves as a rookie and made the All-Star team. He did blow 10 saves last season, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the team looked for an upgrade, but it's not expected, especially with tight purse strings this winter. The team could bring in a veteran for cheap that could close if Walden falters.
Possibilities: Walden, Scott Downs, Broxton, Rauch.

Oakland Athletics: Andrew Bailey is the team's closer, but a trade is always possible with Oakland.

Seattle Mariners: Brandon League had 37 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 2011.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers could be a wild card in the free agent closer market if they decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. The Rangers tried that last spring but decided to keep Feliz in the bullpen. If they bring in a big-name, that would mean they believe Feliz can make the move. If not, there's still a chance of Mike Adams taking over for Feliz. Or they could bring in a low-cost veteran to have in reserve in case Feliz does work in the rotation.
Possibilities: Mike Adams, Madson, Cordero, Rauch, Broxton.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: Craig Kimbrel. Period. 

Miami Marlins: While the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez gets his name issue sorted out, the Marlins have a gaping hole at closer. The current members of their bullpen combined for four saves last season. Do the Marlins try to go with an internal option like Edward Mujica or make a splash on the free agent market (as they've been connected to several huge names already)? 
Possibilities: Nunez, Mujica, Madson, Cordero, Rodriguez, Bell.

New York Mets: If they stay internally, which is entirely possible, it looks like Bobby Parnell. But he wasn't awesome by any stretch when given save chances last season. The Mets have spent big on a free agent closer before (K-Rod), so would they be gunshy in doing so again? It's possible. But it's also possible they try to land someone like Ryan Madson. 
Possibilities: Parnell, Madson, Bell.

Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon. 

Washington Nationals: Drew Storen closed 43 of 48 games in 2011, his first full season in the majors. One would think that would be enough to earn him at least another year on the job, but Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors and the Nationals have been reportedly interested in Madson. The Nats have plenty of money, so if they wanted to ink a big-name closer and deal Storen as part of a package for a center fielder (Denard Span, perhaps?), they would be able to do so. 
Possibilities: Storen, Madson, Bell, Cordero.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: It's probably going to be Carlos Marmol again, but he better get himself in gear. Not only did he blow 10 saves, but his once-astronomical strikeout rate lowered a bit in 2011 and control continues to be a serious problem. With new brass at the helm, 2011 will likely be his last chance to get things fixed. 

Cincinnati Reds: Cordero had a great four-year run with the Reds, amassing 150 saves with a 2.96 ERA, but he's a free agent now. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman is ticketed for the starting rotation and Nick Masset seems to be awfully inconsistent. The Reds don't have the money to spend in free agency, so would they make a trade for, say, Huston Street or Andrew Bailey? Seems unlikely. Either Chapman doesn't make it as a starter and sticks as closer or someone internally (23-year-old Brad Boxberger?) gets a shot. This one is totally up in the air. 
Possibilities: Cordero, Chapman, Boxberger, Bailey, Street, Broxton.

Houston Astros: Mark Melancon saved 20 games with a 2.78 ERA last season. There are far bigger problems with this team to believe they'll try hard to make a change here.

Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford and his award-winning 'stache.  

Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Star Joel Hanrahan nailed down the job last season. 

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte was never officially named closer by the stubborn Tony La Russa, but he did more than enough down the stretch and in the playoffs to earn the job for 2012, closing nine of 10 saves during the Cardinals' late run and five more in the postseason. 

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: It will again be J.J. Putz with David Hernandez filling in if (when?) Putz falls injured.

Colorado Rockies: Street is reportedly on the trading block. If he's is dealt, look for Rafael Betancourt to take over. He collected eight saves with a 2.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 2011. 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Rookie Javy Guerra came on to save 21 games in 23 chances with a 2.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 2011. That's enough to have nailed down the job for the 2011 season, one would think. 

San Diego Padres: Bell is a free agent, but the Padres may just offer him arbitration, and he actually might accept it. If he does stay, the choice is obvious. If Bell leaves, there's a decent internal option in Chad Qualls. Qualls, 33, has 51 career saves. As far as free agency, if the Padres want to pay for a closer, they'll be paying for Bell. 
Possibilities: Bell, Qualls.

San Francisco: The Beard. 

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 3:59 pm
 

What do Red Sox do without Papelbon?

Bard, Papelbon

By Evan Brunell


With Jonathan Papelbon (photo, right) signing a contract to pitch for the Phillies, what does that mean for the Red Sox?

Boston has a closer-in-waiting in Daniel Bard (photo, left) ready to take over the role, but can they afford to elevate Bard into the role?

Over the last few seasons, the Red Sox have seen how valuable having two elite relievers at the top of the bullpen is. Former manager Terry Francona has often said that Bard was perhaps the most important reliever in the bullpen, even more so than Papelbon. Francona was able to deploy Bard in any inning he saw fit, as opposed to Papelbon, who was largely limited to the ninth inning with a lead as conventional baseball says is done these days. But if Bard ascends to the role, the Red Sox suddenly have a void as setup man, and it may be one more difficult to fill than closer.

The free agent market is saturated with closers, and a handful are expected to be available via trade as well. The setup man market? That's not exactly dripping with talent. While the natural inclination is to simply promote Bard into the closer's role, it may not make the most sense from Boston's end if they're committed to the best one-two punch at the back of the rotation.

But would that be OK with Bard? The Boston Globe says that Bard remaining as a setup man would harm Bard's financial goals. That's obvious -- even as valuable as a setup man is these days, it is far more lucrative to be a closer or a starter. The Globe says that if Papelbon had remained in Boston, Bard would have requested a transition to being a starting pitcher, something he flamed out attempting in the minor leagues. Either way, it appears as if Bard has approached no man's land -- either he's going to start or close. Of course, the Red Sox could simply force him to remain as setup man if the club signs Ryan Madson or Heath Bell. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that the Red Sox "will be in on" the two closers -- but Bard would be an unhappy camper if this occurs and likely bolts once he hits free agency. Does Boston want that?

One potential solution is to bring in a new closer, albeit temporarily, and ink Bard to a long-term deal with the goal of eventually making him a closer. While this outcome wouldn't work if the Sox signed Madson to replace Papelbon, it might work if that man is Joe Nathan or another closer that would only come on a one- or two-year deal. Boston could ink Bard for lesser dollars up front, followed by commensurate salary for a closer in the latter years, which would give the team time to find a bridge to Bard. Of course, anyone that agrees to a one- or two-year deal to close is doing so for a reason. Can the Red Sox put that much risk into the closer's spot?

Signing Madson or Bell doesn't necessarily preclude Bard from an eventual closer's spot. He's tied to the Red Sox through 2015, so even a four-year deal for another closer could set Bard up to become a closer once he's eligible for free agency, but Bard would be giving up a ton of dollars in the arbitration process as a setup man.

The Red Sox could also go a different direction, such as taking a risk on Jonathan Broxton for one season and installing him as setup man to Bard. Don't forget the team already has Bobby Jenks in the fold, who is looking to bounce back from an injury-marred 2011. He could be the setup man that the team needs if Bard becomes closer. That doesn't solve the setup man conundrum long-term, but it would work for 2012.

Here's a radical thought. Why doesn't Boston take this opportunity to tweak what it means to be a closer? Bard, simply by virtue of having pitched in these situations, knows how valuable an elite setup man can be. What if the Red Sox told him that while he was going to become the closer, he would also pitch in tight situations earlier in the game as needed? Does Boston really need to hold Bard back from a crucial eighth inning for the easy three-run lead ninth-inning save? This is pretty much wishful thinking, as the conventional idea of a closer is pretty much set in stone, but it's fun to dream.

No one knows which direction Boston will go. Heck, even GM Ben Cherington probably isn't 100 percent positive how things will unfold now that he has several different scenarios to juggle. This much is clear: Cherington has a challenge on his hands to replace the best closer in team history.

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Phillies reach agreement with Papelbon

By Matt Snyder

Jonathan Papelbon is going to be changing organizations for the first time in his professional career. He has agreed in principle to sign with the Phillies for a four-year contract that approaches $50 million, pending a physical, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The deal was first reported by Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that the Phillies had agreed to a deal with incumbent closer Ryan Madson, but that situation fell apart, and several reports later this past week indicated the deal was never fully agreed upon and that the earlier reports jumped the gun. And when things started to fall apart, the Phillies shifted their focus to Papelbon.

Papelbon, 30, is a four-time All-Star and a much more established closer, with 219 career saves (to Madson's 52). The two pitchers are very similar in age (Papelbon is just under two months younger), but, again, Papelbon has a lot more experience as the ninth-inning guy.

Last season, Papelbon saved 31 of 34 chances with a 2.94 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings. A move to the NL should help a bit, though the NL East should prove to be pretty tough next season.

As for Madson, he's left looking elsewhere, as he's surely looking for a closer's job and several teams are seeking an established closer. 

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 9:42 pm
 

Are Red Sox even interested in Papelbon?

Papelbon

By Evan Brunell


Do the Red Sox even want Jonathan Papelbon back?

The Red Sox are on the hunt for a new closer, and despite Papelbon being the best name on the market, the Red Sox don't seem all that interested in hurrying a decision along.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said on Wednesday that while he has had dialogue with David Ortiz's agent and talks are progressing faster because the market is more easily determined, the same can't be said about Papelbon.

“With Pap, it’s a little bit more difficult, because more options in terms of the National League, more unknown about what’s out there,” Cherington told WEEI. “So [there's been] less dialogue with him, but keep the door open certainly and we’ll talk again I’m sure next week.”

So far, so good, right? Nothing out of the norm that would make you raise your eyebrow. But Cherington wasn't finished talking about Papelbon, and what he said is worth some notice. Cherington said that the Red Sox aren't obligated a courtesy call or right of refusal on Papelbon.

“Those things can happen fast sometimes,” said Cherington. “He doesn’t owe us a call. I don’t think we expect that. We expect we’ll keep the door open and keep talking. But if he gets something that he really wants and there’s a deadline on it he can take it.”

Listen to the type of language being used. As far as bringing the righty back, Cherington said twice that Boston is keeping "the door open." And yet, if Papelbon gets an offer he likes from another team, "he can take it."

It doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement for bringing Papelbon back. The Red Sox might be more interested in promoting Daniel Bard to closer and bringing in some relievers, which would allocate more money to the team to address the starting rotation and right field. Still, it's a bit surprising the Red Sox don't seem all that hurried to strike a deal with Papelbon, which could cost them the closer. Papelbon's agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, are known for working quickly while Cherington is noted to be patient.

Nothing here precludes the franchise leader in saves from re-signing in Boston, and it's possible the Red Sox are intentionally downplaying their interest in Papelbon, but it's still notable how little interest Boston seems to have.

Hot stove report: Boston interested in Carlos Beltran

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 10:34 am
 

Rangers 'could' go after Pujols or Fielder

By Matt Snyder

The Texas Rangers were twice within a strike of winning the 2011 World Series and most of the team is going to remain intact for next season, so they're pretty well set up. Still, it's folly for any team to simply stand pat and expect to be in the exact same position next season. So the Rangers are working on starting pitching -- we'll get to that in a second -- but an MLB.com article raised my eyebrows a bit, specifically this line:

"Sources acknowledge they are peeking at other things, and that might even include a nudge in the direction of free-agent first basemen Albert Pujols and/or Prince Fielder."

Now, let's not go crazy, especially with words like "peeking," "nudge" and "might" in there. The Rangers need pitching more than offense and still have the Mike Napoli (when Yorvit Torrealba catches), Michael Young, Mitch Moreland triumvirate that they can use at first. How much the Rangers can afford to increase payroll would also be a question. The article notes pitching is still the top priority, too.

Hot Stove Season
On the flip side, obviously Pujols or Fielder would be a major upgrade and the offense would be downright terrifying when Napoli caught, Young DH'd and either Pujols or Fielder was manning first. Either of the big name free agents would mark a defensive upgrade over Young or Napoli, especially if it was Pujols, a superb defensive first baseman. A big plus on the Rangers' chances here is that many of the large market teams won't be in on the sweepstakes for Pujols or Fielder. The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are set at first long-term. The Angels, Mets and Dodgers all have money issues of different varieties. The White Sox probably can't spend more and already have Paul Konerko. Who knows what direction the Cubs take? So it's possible the Rangers could sneak in and snag one of these big boppers with some of the extra revenue two consecutive World Series appearances has created.

To reiterate, though, it still feels like a longshot and pitching is the top priority for the Rangers. On that front, the Rangers are reportedly speaking with C.J. Wilson on bringing him back, in addition to having "at least some interest" in free agents Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt and Edwin Jackson. Moving closer Neftali Feliz into the rotation and pursuing a free-agent closer is also possible, with the article noting the Rangers have at least some interest in Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez and a few others (MLB.com).

It's still really early in the offseason. All of this could happen or none of it could, but it doesn't make it any less fun to play around with possible scenarios.

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:04 pm
 

Madson's deal sets the market for Papelbon



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ryan Madson has to be pretty happy with the reported four-year, $44 million deal he's set to receive from the Phillies, but he's not the only one. Jonathan Papelbon can't be too torn up by the deal, either.

If Madson is worth $11 million a year, Papelbon -- slightly younger with better stats and more experience -- should be looking at at least $13 million per season.

Hot Stove Season

Of course, there's going to be one less big-money team bidding for his services, but there should due enough out there that allows Papelbon to cash in as the market's top free agent closer.

Madson, 31, has less than a full season of closing under his belt, taking over in Philadelphia after Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras went down with injuries at the start of the season. Madson excelled in the role -- one he didn't do so well in earlier in his career -- recording 32 saves with a 2.37 ERA in 62 appearances. He struck out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings and walked just 16 (eight intentionally). Madson has 52 saves and a 3.59 ERA in 491 career appearances since his debut as a 22-year-old late in the 2003 season.

Papelbon, who will turn 31 later this month, has 219 career saves with a 2.33 ERA, recording 31 saves with a 2.94 ERA in 2011. Papelbon struck out 87 batters in 64 1/3 innings, walking just 10 and recording a WHIP of 0.933. He's also pitched his entire seven-year career in the pressure-packed AL East.

While the Red Sox and Phillies are the two biggest teams in need of a closer this offseason, the Phillies now are out of the market, leaving Boston as the likely frontrunner (as if it wasn't before). The Blue Jays and Nationals are also looking for a closer and could be looking to spend some money. There's another two wild cards -- the Rangers if Neftali Feliz is moved into the rotation and the Marlins depending on who the whole Leo Nunez/Juan Carlos Oviedo situation plays out.

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 6:41 pm
 

Report: Phillies 'closing in' on deal for Madson

Ryan MadsonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Phillies are "closing in" on a four-year deal with closer Ryan Madson, Jim Duquette of the MLB Network tweets, although a source tells CBSSports.com Scott Miller that "nothing is done," with Madson. Yahoo's Tim Brown tweets that the sides are talking about a deal worth $44 million and a fifth year option worth $13 million, but does note that it is not yet a "done deal" -- just close.

Duquette also adds that the deal could include a vesting option for a fifth year, as well.

Madson, 31, recorded 32 saves for the Phillies in 2011, his first season as the full-time closer. He has 52 career saves, but only one (2009) with as many as 10 saves. Madson was 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 2011, recording 62 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings with a 1.154 WHIP.

Madson was coming off a three-year deal worth $12 million. 

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro had said he didn't want to hand over his closing duties to an unproven closer. The team was also rumored to be interested in former Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon, but that may have just been a bargaining ploy by the Phillies in attempting to keep Madson.

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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