Tag:Jonathan Papelbon
Posted on: December 17, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 2:49 pm

Rollins back to Phillies on three-year deal

Jimmy Rollins, the heart of the Phillies for the past several seasons, will continue to provide the pulse: He is returning to Philadelphia on a three-year, $33 million deal, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

The contract includes a vesting option for a fourth year that is described by one source as easily obtainable that likely will make the entire package worth $44 million.

The Rollins-Phillies deal has been a foregone conclusion in the industry for much of the winter, though the Brewers did inquire and show some interest in prying him away from Philadelphia early. However, once they signed Alex Gonzalez, and with St. Louis re-signing Rafael Furcal last week, there were few teams left looking for shortstops.

Which works well for both the Phillies and Rollins, because given perhaps the best run in Philadelphia baseball history over these past five seasons, the shortstop is back where he belongs.

Though the Phillies have seen some decline since Rollins' sensational 2007 NL MVP season, they also watched him produce a solid bounce-back season in 2011 after he played in only 88 games in 2010 during a season in which a nagging calf injury limited his production.

In 142 games last season, Rollins batted .268/.338/.399 with 16 homers, 63 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.

That's a far better fit for a Philadelphia team primed for another run at the World Series behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and the gang than, say, Freddy Galvis or Wilson Valdez would have been.

At 33 and still in terrific shape, Rollins should be able to play shortstop adequately through the duration of this contract. And despite Chase Utley's injury-checkered past couple of seasons, Rollins and Utley still give the Phillies a very solid -- and often potent -- middle infield.

With Rollins done, Philadelphia's biggest issue heading into 2012 will be at first base, and Ryan Howard's continuing recovery from the torn left Achilles tendon he suffered on the final play in the Phillies' final game last October against the Cardinals.

Howard is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season, given his original diagnosis of a five- to six-month recovery process. The Phillies this winter have traded for Ty Wigginton and signed free agent Jim Thome, and each is expected to help patch the void at first until Howard returns.

It will be a new-look Phillies team in a couple of areas, with free agent closer Jonathan Papelbon and with Wigginton or John Mayberry in left in place of Raul Ibanez. But with Utley, Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Carlos Ruiz, Placido Polanco and, now, Rollins in place, the Phillies mostly will look very similar -- and just as potent -- to what we've seen from Charlie Manuel's crew during the past several seasons.

Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 12:57 am

Phillies backing away from Madson deal?

That contract the Phillies were discussing with Ryan Madson, the one that was rich enough to perhaps set the bar for Jonathan Papelbon and others this winter?

It might have been too lucrative for the Phillies' own good.

The deal currently is in flux -- with Philadelphia ownership hitting the pause button, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions.

Whether it or not it gets put back on track -- today or in the near future -- now will be the subject of great interest.

Madson and the Phillies on Tuesday were discussing a four-year deal worth $44 million, according to sources with knowledge of the talks, with a fifth year option worth another $13 million. The deal, negotiated between Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and agent Scott Boras, was said to be reaching its final stages -- offered, and accepted. Then it went upstairs to Phillies' CEO David Montgomery, and the club hit the brakes.

This doesn't necessarily mean the Phillies will not sign Madson, who converted 32 of 34 save opportunities in 2011. But it does mean that if they've got pause on the price tag -- a price they initially appeared to be OK with -- they might decide to in a different direction -- Papelbon? Heath Bell? -- before what has turned into a highly curious negotiation finishes.

Madson, 31, compiled a 2.37 ERA in his first full-time season as a closer, with 62 strikeouts over 60 2/3 innings.
Posted on: February 19, 2011 7:56 pm

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Outtakes from the Red Sox camp, and a reminder to look beneath the gaudy exterior of Boston's winter:

-- While Boston's additions of marquee men Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez got all the attention, it would be a colossal mistake to underestimate the additions of relievers Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler to the Red Sox's power brigade.

"There's no getting around the fact that last year we lost way too many games, or the chance to win games, late," manager Terry Francona says.

No kidding.

For one thing, closer Jonathan Papelbon, eligible for free agency this winter, had his worst season in 2010, posting a 3.90 ERA and blowing seven saves.

For another, partly because of Papelbon's blowups, the Sox ranked 14th among AL bullpens with a 4.24 bullpen ERA. Furthermore, Boston as a team ranked 23rd in the majors in allowing an average of 4.60 runs per game.

Wheeler and Jenks maybe are under the radar to the average fan, but you'd better believe they're not around here.

"There are a lot of ways a good team can get off track and get derailed," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein told me during a weekend conversation on one of the Boston practice fields. "There is no way that's as painful as having a bad bullpen, or running out of quality guys out there."

To that extent, Epstein said, the Sox really wanted to focus on bullpen depth this winter -- and not just the first seven or eight guys, but nine and 10 deep.

"Jenks, we all assumed, was going to get a closer gig," Epstein said. "Everyone in the game thought he was going to be non-tendered, but he actually turned down a couple of closer roles to come here, which we all appreciate."

Working behind Papelbon and set-up man Daniel Bard, and alongside Hideki Okajima, Scott Atchison, Matt Albers and others, mark it down: Jenks and Wheeler will be pivotal weapons for Francona this summer.

"There's no getting around the fact that last year we lost too many games, or the chance to win games, late," the manager said. "We felt like we were going to Bard too much, or wanting to go to Bard too much. I don't think we did. But we lost games late, and then there were games that were close where we didn’t give ourselves a chance to win like good teams should.

"I think we feel like we have some reinforcements. We're a little bit deeper, and that's the hope. Because last year was difficult."

-- Jenks declined to say which clubs he turned down this winter, simply saying the chance to sign not only in Boston, but with a fully loaded Red Sox team, was too good to turn down.

"It's a great organization and somewhere I wanted to play," Jenks said. "I didn't think it would be this soon. But once the opportunity came around, I jumped on it.

"It didn't hurt that they had made all of these moves, too."

The Sox traded for Gonzalez on Dec. 5, signed Crawford on Dec. 13 and signed Jenks on Dec. 21, three days after they signed Wheeler.

After closing for the White Sox for his entire career, Jenks signed specifically to be a set-up man. But you know how things work -- if Papelbon struggles like last summer, Francona has options.

Especially if Jenks feels as good as he does right now. Struck by elbow inflammation last season, Jenks says it's a thing of the past, and various X-rays and MRIs seem to support him.

Jenks is 29, posted a career-high 4.44 ERA last year but has 173 career saves over six seasons. He signed a two-year, $12 million contract with Boston.

"I came here knowing my role," he says. "It's an eighth-inning, seventh-inning thing, a set-up role. I feel very good. Terrific. Nothing from last year is bothering me."

-- Francona on the bullpen: "We've had pretty good teams here, and I think those things have a way of evolving. ... I do know the teams that we've had here that have been really good, our bullpens have always been good. It's hard to have a really good team and not
Sunblock Day? Oh baby, this spring is to last spring in Florida as a day on the beach in Hawaii is to an Alaskan winter. Well, maybe that's hyperbole. But it was 85 degrees in Fort Myers today and it's been a drop-dead beautiful week. Think my neck is burnt. Need more sunblock.

Likes: The optimism of early spring in every camp. ... Lakeland. Passed through there the other day and it's like a town caught in the 1970s. Love the marquee outside the Southside Cleaners that without fail, every year, keeps cheesy sayings on its marquee. On one side this year, it read: "To err is human, to purr is feline." On the other side: "Synonym: A word you use when you can't spell the other word." ... Then, the marquee at the church down the street checked in with "A daily prayer reduces your cares." ... The gumbo and crawfish etouffee remain superb at Harry's Seafood Bar and Grill in Lakeland. ... Dairy Queen. ... Buddy Guy's performance with the Rolling Stones on Champagne and Reefer is reason alone to Netflix Shine a Light. Knockout stuff.

Dislikes: New year, new batting practice and spring training jerseys. Every chance to try and soak more money out of the fans. Detroit's are navy blue with white shoulders. What the hell? Looks awful. Cincinati's have a ridiculously large "Reds" scripted across the front. Loved Brandon Phillips' tweet in reply to a fan who asked what he thought of them: "It's NOT my cup of tea, but I'm happy to have one, though."

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well, the plane touched down just about 3 o'clock
"And the city's still on my mind
"Bikinis and palm trees danced in my head
"I was still in the baggage line
"Concrete and cars are their own prison bars like this life I'm living in
"But the plane brought me farther
"I'm surrounded by water
"And I'm not going back again"

-- Zac Brown Band, Toes

Posted on: July 14, 2009 6:37 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2009 8:14 pm

All-Star pitching plans for tonight

ST. LOUIS -- As American League manager Joe Maddon said the other day, it's difficult to "choreograph" the All-Star Game when it's played in a National League park without the designated hitter.

But while plans may eventually unravel, here's the way Maddon and his NL counterpart, Charlie Manuel, intend to begin tonight's 80th All-Star Game:

Maddon has told starter Roy Halladay that he will pitch two innings. Halladay will be followed in order, according to Maddon, by the White Sox's Mark Buehrle, Kansas City's Zack Greinke, Detroit's Edwin Jackson, Seattle's Felix Hernandez, Boston's Jonathan Papelbon, Minnesota's Joe Nathan and the Yankees' Mariano Rivera.

If Rivera pitches with a lead in the ninth inning, he will have a chance to claim his fourth All-Star save, which would be a record. Currently, he is tied with Dennis Eckersley for the record with three.

As of now, Maddon is planning on keeping in reserve Boston's Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett, Detroit's Justin Verlander and the Angels' Brian Fuentes. Beckett and Verlander pitched on Sunday.

As for Wakefield, making his first All-Star appearance at 42, and holding him back?

"It's all about this game matters," Maddon said. "It does matter, and he's the perfect guy if there are extra innings to carry us the rest of the way."

As for the NL, attempting to win its first All-Star game since 1996, Manuel, following consultation with San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy, has told starter Tim Lincecum to plan to pitch two innings.

After that?

Depends if Lincecum pitches two full innings, and it depends on whether the pitcher's spot is coming up in the next inning, Manuel said. That will determine whether he uses a starter or a reliever to follow Lincecum.

Posted on: March 13, 2009 1:34 pm

Papelbon says Manny "like cancer"

 PEORIA, Ariz. -- Hey, it could have been worse: Pap could have said that Manny can't dance.

Likes: Manny Ramirez pulling out of his scheduled first Cactus League game because of a "tight hamstring." Very entertaining. Manny never did like spring training much, and is this the first of what are sure to be more Manny Moments for the Dodgers this year than last? ... Joe Mauer's back isn't as bad as feared in Minnesota. ... Syracuse and Connecticut going six overtimes Thursday night in that epic Big East Conference tournament game. What a show. I picked it up toward the end of the first overtime when I returned to the hotel from dinner at. ... Monti's Steakhouse, a landmark on Mill Ave. near the Arizona State campus. The place has character. ... Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Fascinating read, though you'd better have some time -- it's 700-plus pages. Another winner from Doris Kearns Goodwin. ... Jon Stewart artfully taking apart Jim Cramer on The Daily Show on Thursday night.

Dislikes: There's this high-pitched squeal, a kind of low feedback noise, emanating from ESPN on my hotel TV. No other channels, that I can discern. Nice. Not that I was going to watch any of the college conference tournaments this weekend in my spare time or anything. ...

Sunblock day: Beautiful. Bright, warm and upper 70s.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day

"Keep your raft from the riverboat
"Fiction over fact always has my vote
"And wrinkles only go where the smiles have been"

-- Jimmy Buffett, Barefoot Children



Posted on: July 15, 2008 3:43 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2008 3:44 pm

Gossage: Rivera, not Papelbon, should close

NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera or Jonathan Papelbon as the possible All-Star closer in tonight's All-Star Game, which is doubling as a sort of national farewell to Yankee Stadium?

Goose Gossage, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this month, scoffs at any whiff of controversy.

And this being New York, you bet there was controversy. The back page of the New York Daily News on Tuesday screamed "Papelbum!" and ripped him for saying he should close over Rivera

It was a classic case of taking things out of context. Yes, Papelbon said Monday he'd love to close. Yes, he said, every player is going to stick up for himself and think he should play.

But he also paid his respect to Rivera, and he acknowledged that sometimes in this game you must pay your dues, and noted that maybe this is his dues-paying time.

"Oh, I think Mariano should close it out," Gossage, the former Yankees closer, said at a gathering of Hall of Famers on Tuesday before the legends were to appear during an All-Star pre-game ceremony. "If we were in Fenway Park, then (Papelbon) should close it out.

"He's way off track on this one. He's full of s---. I like Papelbon, but he's way off base on this one."

As for himself, Gossage, who is emotional when he talks of the end of Yankee Stadium, said he still wouldn't trade anything for the opportunity to come back and work the ninth in tonight's final All-Star Game in The Stadium.

"I've closed out enough games," he said. "Mariano is the heir apparent to the finality here. I can't believe Papelbon said he should close. That's a no-brainer, man."

As for the goliath new Yankee Stadium under construction next door, Gossage said it looks nice, but it still can't substitute for actually playing on the same grounds on which the Babe, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle played.

"It's too bad tear this stadium down and take the new one on rollers and plop it down in the same place the old one is," Gossage said. "Seems like with the technology we have today, you could do that. ...

"It's amazing. I can't imagine not ever playing here again."


Posted on: July 14, 2008 10:20 pm

Rivera must close All-Star Game ... right?

NEW YORK -- Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon spoke Tuesday as if he thinks he's got a chance to pitch in a save situation in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's All-Star Game, and maybe he will.

If Yankees closer Mariano Rivera suddenly disappears into thin air.

One of the best storylines here this week is the chance for Rivera to collect a save in Tuesday's All-Star Game, possibly the final big-stage event in Yankee Stadium history.

C'mon, Jonathan, do you think AL manager Terry Francona would get out of New York alive if he opted for you instead of Rivera, given the time and place?

"You're starting to scare me with that question," Papelbon quipped Monday. "Is the mob involved in this?

"There are so many different routes you can go with this. So many different scenarios. It's just not that easy. It's not. You have to understand what major-league baseball is about, what the game is about. You've got to understand how players pay their dues.

"I don't know, man."

Everything Papelbon said, including admitting that he's still in the dues-paying stage, spoke toward Rivera getting the ninth-inning nod.

Francona declined Tuesday to state his ninth inning plans on the grounds that "out of the spirit of the game, competition, having a little bit of fun, we're not going to announce the rest of our rotation yet."

To which, NL manager Clint Hurdle countered, "I'm going to stick my neck out there and say we'll prepare for (Rivera) a little bit, watch a little video."

Rivera talked Tuesday like a man planning on pitching the ninth.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'm looking forward to doing it one more time (on a big stage in Yankee Stadium), yes."

This AL squad is deep in closers. Los Angeles' Francisco Rodriguez, who leads the league with 38 saves, is here. So are Papelbon and Baltimore's George Sherrill, tied for second at 28 saves. And Minnesota's Joe Nathan, fourth at 27; Kansas City's Joakim Soria, fifth at 25; and Rivera, sixth at 23.

"If this is one of my dues, it's one of my dues," Papelbon said. "If I was the manager and I had to make the decision, I'd be closing.

"If I said I'd get Mariano Rivera to do it, that's not the competitive nature of Jonathan Papelbon."

However, he also said he'd understand if Francona told him he was going to go with Rivera.

"I think it would be bullheaded of me and selfish of me not to understand it," he said.

Papelbon said he "honestly" doesn't think Francona has made up his mind yet, though that seems awfully difficult to believe. Francona is big on respecting the game, and it's difficult to see him electing to go with anybody but Rivera if it comes down to it.

Not in this ballpark.

It's the main reason why Nathan doesn't expect to get the ball in the ninth.

"We've got a lot of good guys who can close," Nathan said. "I think Mariano is definitely going to do it. You've got to throw him in there."

How does Nathan rate his own chances at getting the ball in the ninth inning?

"I'd say slim to none, with that guy around," he said, chuckling.

Posted on: February 19, 2008 5:34 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2008 5:35 pm

Breaking news: All 30 clubs to win World Series!

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Don't believe it? At our current pace, by the end of the spring, one guy from each of baseball's 30 clubs will be on record as guaranteeing a World Series victory in 2008.

The always-fun Kevin Millar was the latest to join the growing parade of big leaguers chirping "We're the team to beat!" on

Tuesday as the Orioles held their first full-squad workout.

Millar joined the Chicago Cubs' Ryan Dempster, Boston's Jonathan Papelbon and the New York Mets' Carlos Beltran as proclaiming

their clubs the team to beat in '08.

Of course, it's like the old Sesame Street bit "One of these things doesn't belong with the others."

The Red Sox, Mets and, yep, even the Cubs have a reasonable chance of winning this year.

The O's? Uh, no.

That didn't stop the Millar Stand-Up act Tuesday morning though as he worked overtime at deflecting the steroids questions

being fired at Jay Gibbons (15 day suspension for human growth hormone use) and Brian Roberts (named in the Mitchell Report).

"I'm guaranteeing a 2008 World Series," Millar crowed, grin plastered firmly in place. "Everybody else is.

"I'm going on the record right now. We're going to shock the world."

Then he took off after Dempster,

"I don't know who Dempster is in Chicago, but if he thinks he's going to win the World Series, he has to come through us

first," Millar continued. "I'm going deep off Ryan Dempster."

Actually, Millar does know who this Dempster cat is. The two were teammates with the Marlins in Florida several years ago.

Ah, details. They only get in the way, right?

Yep, Millar was revved up good. Lockering close to Brian Roberts, he provided the background noise as Roberts was being quizzed

by reporters about the possibility of being traded to the Chicago Cubs.

"Guaranteed World Series," Millar said of Roberts. "Cubs or Orioles, either way."

Likes: Kevin Millar's best days may be behind him, but he's one of those guys who add character to baseball. Football is simply too serious to mine for humor -- at least, that's the way most football coaches and players seem to see it. ... Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie telling me, regarding his outstanding rookie season last year (7-5, 3.70 ERA in 32 appearances, 26 starts), "I was pleasantly surprised, for sure." Honest to a fault. "I came into the rotation doing what I did, competing against the best hitters in the world in the best division in baseball, I was really pleasantly surprised. Now I have to build off of it because one year is only one year." ... Netflix. ... The Rock Me Gently Jeep commercial featuring the old Andy Kim hit. What an acting job by the animals -- or the computerized animals. ... Morning coffee strong enough you can chew -- especially when you're in the car and off to the next camp at 6:30, 7 in the morning.

Dislikes: Subway commercials congratulating Jared for keeping all those pounds off for 10 years. With whatever money they're paying him, he should keep himself from blimping out again. Wait, could that be the start of a Blimpie campaign?

Sunblock day? Cloudy, cool and sometimes rainy today in Fort Lauderdale. Why, I probably should have even worn long pants to camp today. Horrors. ...

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"Pale invaders and tan crusaders
"Are worshipping the sun
"On the corner of walk and don't walk
"Somewhere on U.S. 1"

-- Jimmy Buffett, Floridays

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