The Red Sox are now without a closer. Papelbon wasn’t just any closer, he was probably the best the Red Sox have had over an extended period of time. In his six seasons as full-time closer, Papelbon had at least 30 saves. His career ERA is 2.33, WHIP just over one, averages over 10 K’s per nine innings and has a 4.4:1 strike-out to walk ratio. How the front office let this guy walk without even making an offer is an outrage.
That leaves the 2012 Red Sox handing the ball in the ninth to either Daniel Bard or some inferior overpriced free agent like Heath Bell. Papelbon’s deal is reported to be four years, fifty million. A guy like Bell will likely be looking for ten million per year and has never pitched in the American League, never mind the hard-hitting East. And we’ve seen the flaws in Bard’s game already, I’d rather see him converted to a starter than taking the ball in the ninth.
I think this is a very bad start for Ben Cherington. Aside from his great numbers, Papelbon was one of the few Red Sox who showed any balls during the 2011 collapse. Granted he blew the Baltimore game, but it was one bad game in a great season and he took full responsibility for the loss, something we don’t see out of too many Red Sox. Most just claim they “had good stuff” or blame it on God.
And of course, we’ll miss the Pappet!