Teddy Mitrosilis over at Dugout Central has an interesting article posted about the Red Sox and their struggles to reach an accord with closer Jonathan Papelbon. He suggests that the Sox should allow Papelbon to leave when he becomes a free agent after the 2011 season, citing his outsized demands and the imprudence of giving a closer a long term deal as his primary justifications.
Ignoring the fact that letting an elite closer like Papelbon walk would be the wrong move, the scenario Teddy suggests creates an interesting hypothetical. The Yankees will likely be looking for a closer at that point, assuming that Joba Chamberlain survives in the rotation and Mariano Rivera is not actually God. If you were the general manager, would you sign Papelbon?
From a baseball perspective, it is a slam dunk move. Papelbon is a an elite closer who has made his bones in the most heated years of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. You know that he can handle an overbearing media contingent, as well as the pressure that comes with closing postseason games. On the other hand, I hate that guy and his bug eyed stare so much. He is on the short list of former Red Sox that I could never see myself embracing (Youkilis, Pedroia, Beckett, and Schilling round out the top 5), and I wonder if I could ever look past that and just deal with the fact that he would help the team. What do you think?
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