Thursday, October 15, 2009

The case for trading Papelbon

I was going to write a post elaborating on the sane, logical reasons to explore trading Papelbone, but Kayla over at Off The Monster already did a great job on it. You can read her post here. I concur with pretty much all of the reasoning in it, and added some other comments at the bottom of it.

The picture of Papelbon is from this site.


  1. I'm not against trading Paps per se, but I do question some of your (and Kayla's) reasoning.

    First, what return do you hope to get for Papelbon? One could make the argument that Papelbon doesn't even have as much value as Bucholz, because Pap goes into free agency next year and he is a closer. A team like the Mariners (who have Prince Felix) doesn't need a closer--they need starters and bats. After they put together the starters and bats, you can go find yourself a closer.

    Second, I would question whether the Sox can get enough in return to want to trade Papelbon. Unlike many teams, the Sox have a chance every year to make the playoffs and go far. Although Bard has looked great, he has also had shaky patches. Once you send Papelbon away, there is no going back. The Sox could severely impair their playoff chances if they can't trust their closer (remember how harrowing 2003 was?).

    On a similar note, what player (or package of players) could the Sox really get in return? The Sox don't need more pitching--they have done a great job developing starters. The Sox need a middle of the order bat. Although the starters weren't great against the Angels, it was the bats that let us down. What high quality, middle of the order bats are available?

    Half seriously, I would also hate to see one of the last few players with personality leave the team. I know you don't really believe in chemistry, Steve, but I think the soul-less OPS machine they've put together can be somewhat detrimental. You need somebody who has some spirit to get a team through a rough patch, like when you are down 3-0 against the Yankees in 2004 or 3-1 against the Indians in 2007. Although that may not be Papelbon, I would hate for Theo to keep acquiring more Jason Bay-J.D. Drew type lifeless players. We need some heart.

  2. p.s. that isn't to say I don't agree with trading Paps if the right package comes around, I just don't see that happening.

  3. Hey Bob, responding to your points with two of my own...

    1) I agree with you that the return would be everything. I don't think we'd get Felix Hernandez for him, because the Mariners are run by a competent general manager. But a bunch of stupid teams still overvalue the save. For example, the Reds seem like a team ripe for plundering, or the Dodgers, if they still had high-upper minor league talent left.

    As far as the return for Paps, I'm open, as long as it is under-30 positional talent. I could see him being moved for a frustrating enigma like Alex Gordon and a prospect, or Chris Ianetta, or Joey Votto or Billy Butler. Guys who aren't quite superstars, but who have upside of stupid organizations holding them back. While I wouldn't expect any of those four to be moved, that's the *type* of player I'd like.

    2) I'd argue that the Red Sox trying to stay with "chemistry" hurt them too much this year, and might in the future. I think one of their big issues this year was third base, where Lowell was OK offensively, but absolutely horrid defensively, that nifty grab in the playoffs excluded.

    Similarly with Ortiz, he has gone from a superstar player to a guy who looked like he was done for the first two months. He rebounded and had a decent year, but I think his career from here on out looks more feast or famine in specific months than a gradual progression down.

    I think Lowell and Ortiz have been kept a year too late for fear of how the fan base and team would react. As far as the team lacking energy guys, they still have Pedroia and Youkilis and Victor Martinez, and I think those guys are plenty. Also, from Lou Merloni's talk on WEEI, I think the whole leadership thing is overrated anyway.


Try not to be too much of an ass, unless completely necessary. You are subject to tyrannical moderation.


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