Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:15 pm
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With closers playing musical chairs this winter, the biggest question of the spring became . . . music?
Jonathan Papelbon moved from the Red Sox to the Phillies, so the Dropkick Murphys say he can't use "Shipping Up To Boston" as his walk-in music. Andrew Bailey moved from the A's to the Red Sox, and the music question is big enough that Bailey opened a Twitter chat Wednesday night by saying, "FYI, no walk out song yet."
And what about Ryan Madson, who moved from the Phillies to the Reds?
Last year, Madson entered games to "Don't Stop Believing'." Theoretically, he could do the same this year, since the song isn't exactly tied to Philadelphia.
But Madson said he doesn't want it. In fact, when the Reds asked him what song he wanted, he said he told them he didn't want anything.
"I just want to go out there and get three outs," Madson said Thursday morning.
Madson is in good spirits, despite some elbow soreness that has kept him out of early Cactus League games, and despite a winter that saw him leave the Phillies after talks about a multiyear contract strangely fell through.
"I'm a simple guy from California," he said.
He signed a one-year deal with the Reds for $8.5 million, a little apprehensive about changing teams for the first time in his career.
"I didn't really know what to expect, but it's been great," he said. "I like all the guys. They're very cool."
And about what happened at the end in Philadelphia, when he was offered at least a three-year deal and then seemed close to signing a four-year deal?
"I don't even care anymore," Madson said.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:38 pm
Lots of money. A little intrigue. And the best guy on the market ends up at Citizens Bank Park.
They needed a closer, with Ryan Madson heading into free agency. And after a strange week in which they agreed (or didn't agree) on a deal that would have paid Madson $11 million a year, they agreed (this time for real) on a contract that will pay Jonathan Papelbon a little more than $12 million a year.
Papelbon has a deal with the Phillies, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com on Friday afternoon. He'll get $50 million for four years, with a vesting option for a fifth year.
The Phillies get a soon-to-be 31-year-old closer who has more than just survived in the American League East, with 219 saves for the Red Sox over the last six years (third in baseball behind Francisco Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera). They get a guy who has closed out a World Series, a guy coming off a strong year.
They get a guy who will go into the season as the no-doubt closer . . . something Madson never did in nine full seasons in Philadelphia.
Remember, when Brad Lidge was hurt last spring, the Phillies didn't hand Madson the ninth inning. They left him in the eighth inning, and put Jose Contreras in the ninth -- until Contreras got hurt.
Madson eventually proved he could handle the job. He ended up with 32 saves (one more than Papelbon), and the Phillies felt comfortable enough to try to bring him back.
Depending on who you want to believe, they may even have offered him $44 million for four years, a deal that sources close to Madson said he agreed to. Phillies sources insisted that no such deal was ever made.
We may never know the full truth. We do know that the Phillies, who had already been talking to Papelbon even as they negotiated with Madson, eventually decided to sign the ex-Red Sox closer instead.
We also know that Papelbon is a safer bet than Madson, basically the same age and with a much longer and better track record as a closer. Madson looked good in 2011, but in a role where success is often a year-to-year thing, it's very easy to say you'd rather have Papelbon.
The Red Sox would have rather kept him, and now they're left without a closer. They'll be in on Madson, and also Heath Bell, who are the top two remaining closers on the market.
Madson is left without a deal. He'll have interest from the Red Sox, and also possibly from the Rangers, Nationals and others. There are lots of closers available (Rodriguez is also on the market), and plenty of teams that could use one.
Meanwhile, the Phillies have done what they always do, what they did last winter when they signed Cliff Lee, what they did when they traded for Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence.
They spent big, and they went out and got the best guy out there.
It doesn't guarantee that they'll win, obviously not. Putting Halladay and Lee together in a dream rotation didn't guarantee the Phillies a title, either.
It does get their offseason off to a flying -- and typical -- start. They still need to find a shortstop (retaining incumbent Jimmy Rollins is their obvious preference), and they'd still like to find an outfield bat (Michael Cuddyer seems to be the top choice, although not at his current asking price).
But finding a closer was general manager Ruben Amaro's top task this winter.
It cost him a lot. It wasn't at all simple.
But in the end, he got the best one available.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 7:18 pm
NEW YORK -- Jonathan Papelbon can be emotional. He can be unpredictable.
He also, apparently, can be calm and reasoned.
So when baseball announced Tuesday that Papelbon had been suspended for three games for his Saturday argument with umpire Tony Randazzo, Papelbon was . . . calm and reasoned.
"I was guilty just as much as Randazzo," the Red Sox closer said. "Maybe we can meet somewhere in the middle."
Papelbon appealed his three-game suspension, which is no surprise considering the Red Sox are beginning a three-game series against the Yankees. But Papelbon also said he was hoping for a reduction, even as he seemed to admit that some punishment was appropriate.
"There's consequences to what you do on the field," Papelbon said. "I hope next time it doesn't escalate."
Papelbon said he wants to present his case, which would be that the confrontation got worse because of Randazzo's actions. He said he doesn't care whether Randazzo is punished, but he hopes that by making his case he'll get a reduction in his own punishment.
"My side is, I didn't go out there with any malicious thoughts," Papelbon said. "I was walking away. I didn't feel like I started the whole issue. I didn't feel I was the one who made the situation go the way it did."
Papelbon was saying exactly what he should say. He was handling this as maturely as you'd want any player to handle it. It's easy to believe he was well-coached, but that's fine.
He said what he said.
And that, apparently, is Jonathan Papelbon, too.
Posted on: May 17, 2010 11:50 am
Edited on: May 17, 2010 11:52 am
Yes, it was shocking to see Mariano Rivera serve up a grand slam. We all raced to the history books.
We were all amazed that he had only given up one previous grand slam in his career as a full-time relief pitcher.
And we shouldn't have been.
Outstanding closers -- even those on a level just below the Great Rivera -- don't give up grand slams. Joe Nathan has never allowed one, in 533 appearances. Jonathan Papelbon has allowed one, in 284 relief appearances.
Trevor Hoffman, who has pitched in 998 games (Rivera has 920 relief appearances), didn't allow his first slam until this year (Ryan Doumit of the Pirates, on April 27). Dennis Eckersley allowed one in 710 relief appearances. Troy Percival, Rollie Fingers and John Franco allowed two apiece, as have Billy Wagner and Francisco Cordero (all research done through baseball-reference.com ).
Rivera is great, the best ever at his job. But it's not the lack of grand slams that proves it.
Posted on: January 19, 2010 4:01 pm
Posted on: October 20, 2008 2:20 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2008 2:27 pm
After the Sox lost Game 7 to the Rays on Sunday night, Daisuke Matsuzaka told Japanese reporters that he had been told to be ready to close Game 7, if needed. Matsuzaka, who started Game 5, said he was told by manager Terry Francona that Papelbon wouldn't be available.
Papelbon admitted after Game 6 that he was "pretty beat up." When he took the mound for the ninth inning that night, Manny Delcarmen immediately began warming up in the bullpen behind him.
Papelbon appeared in seven of the Red Sox' 11 postseason games, after making a career-high 66 appearances during the regular season. He has not allowed a run in 16 career postseason appearances.
Matsuzaka hasn't appeared out of the bullpen since 2004, when he pitched in relief for Seibu in Game 7 of the Japan Series. He has made only one other relief appearance as a professional, in the 2002 Japan Series.
Posted on: October 19, 2008 6:03 pm
It hasn't yet been a problem for the Red Sox. You wonder if it will be, either in Game 7 or, if they win tonight, in the World Series against the Phillies.
Papelbon has never allowed a postseason run, in 16 career appearances. But he's had to work harder this year than ever before.
Papelbon has already made seven appearances this month, or as many as he made in the entire 2007 postseason. The Red Sox have played 10 postseason games so far, and only three times have they been able to stay away from their closer. That's after he appeared in a career-high 66 games during the regular season.
"He's pitched a lot," manager Terry Francona said. "The guys that are around us all year know that we try so hard, and it's not always easy, to keep an eye on their innings and their workload. So when there comes a point when we need to lean on them, it's there. And he's answered the call. He's done a terrific job."
Posted on: July 14, 2008 5:29 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2008 7:26 pm
The National League is always up against it in the All-Star Game, anyway. The simple problem, as became clear in the interleague matchups, is that the American League has better players.
The NL needs every edge it can get. Instead, NL manager Clint Hurdle heads into Tuesday night's game at Yankee Stadium with a staff full of tired pitchers.
Arizona's Brandon Webb, who leads the league with 13 wins, threw 108 pitches on Sunday. He said today that he has "a zero percent chance" of pitching in the All-Star game.
"I don't think I'm even available," Webb said.
Cincinnati's Edinson Volquez and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum are first and second in the NL in ERA. Volquez threw 112 pitches Saturday, and Lincecum threw 116 on Sunday. Both said they're available for an inning, but neither could have been considered to start the game.
"It's my regular bullpen day, and I pitched in similar situations in college," Lincecum said. "I always go after my bullpens with the same tenacity I do a game, so it shouldn't be a problem."
"We'll just get (Milwaukee's Ben) Sheets to throw seven innings," Dempster said.
One other NL pitching issue: When Kerry Wood had to pull out of the game with an injury, Hurdle picked Cubs teammate Carlos Marmol to replace him. But it turns out that the Cubs would rather that Marmol, who pitched in 49 games in the first half, doesn't pitch on Tuesday night.
A couple of other things to think about on All-Star Monday:
-- Twins catcher Joe Mauer was talking about Johan Santana today, and he reminded everyone how good Santana has usually been after the All-Star break. It wasn't true last year, when he was 5-7 with a 4.04 ERA, but from 2003-06, Santana went a combined 40-4 with a 2.07 ERA in the second half.
"He really gets going in the second half," Mauer said.
-- In talking about the weak trade market for starting pitchers, one scout pointed to the number of pitchers with great stuff who are being made into relievers. He mentioned All-Stars Jonathan Papelbon and Joakim Soria, both of whom could start and have started at some point in their careers.
Incidentally, Papelbon has no interest at all in becoming a starter.
"I think that was settled a long time ago," he said.
A long time ago? Only if spring training 2007 qualifies as long ago.