Papelbon shipping up to Boston?
With Joel Hanrahan on the DL and Andrew Bailey blowing games left and right, there is a cause for concern when it comes to closers in Red Sox Nation. But fear not Sox fans because Jonathan Papelbon could be “shipping up to Boston.”
That’s right, the Phillies are looking to deal Papelbon, and so far the Sox and the Detroit Tigers are the best candidates for the All Star closer. As of now, the Tigers are the favorite according to an unnamed source.
“Don’t be surprised if you see Papelbon end up in Detroit,” the source, reportedly an executive, said. “If the Tigers have a chance to get the closer they need, they won’t let [a big asking price] stand in the way. So if you’re Ruben, how can you not do that if the Tigers step up the way I think they’re about to step up?”
The Tigers are desperate for a closer and have the chips to deal, but the Sox may just have more motivation in bringing Pap back. The Sox have a slim two-and-a-half game lead for first place in the AL East, and all AL East teams are within five games of each other. The Sox lost two closers and a few bullpen arms as well, so they need someone, and badly at that. With an abundance of talent at other positions in AAA Pawtucket, the Sox just may have enough trade bait to bring Papelbon to Boston.
Then there is the question as to whether or not they should.
Papelbon doesn’t seem opposed to returning to Boston, but he made it clear that he wants to play anywhere he can, not just out of devotion to one city.
“Yeah, I could see myself in Boston,” he said. “I could see myself pitching in New York. You know me. I’ve always been the kind of guy who … I don’t really just settle, or accept things. Whatever happens in my future is going to happen. I’m not blind to that fact.”
Then there is the question as to whether the Sox should acquire Papelbon in a trade just because they can. Remember that Papelbon got a big contract from Philly, which the Sox would be taking on for the remaining two years of his deal unless they ship him out in the offseason. Added to that his history in Boston in close games. Sox fans everywhere remember his meltdown in Game 3 of the 2010 ALDS which abruptly ended the Sox’s playoff run, and how can we forget his blown save in Game 162 of the 2011 season?
The Sox need a closer, but we will just have to wait and see if Ben Cherington thinks Papelbon is the man for them.