The Phillies just solved their closer problem. That’s because the team has signed Boston Red Sox free agent Jonathan Papelbon, per CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury.
The deal is reportedly four years and $50 million guaranteed. Wow. And Jayson Stark says there’s likely a vesting option for a fifth year, giving the deal a possible total value over $60 million. Wow x 2.
Even without the fifth year vesting, this will be the highest overall contract value for a relief pitcher, surpassing the five-year, $47 million deal signed by B.J. Ryan with the Blue Jays in November of 2005, per Hardball Talk. The Yankees’ Mariano Rivera still has the highest annual average for a reliever at $15 million. Not bad for 60-odd innings a year.
So much for that rumored 4-year, $44 million offer to Ryan Madson. It was hard to believe Madson would actually come back anyway, considering how much his wife hates Philly.
And now a guy who all of Philly mostly hated is the Phillies new closer. Somehow that seems appropriate. Papelbon, who turns 31 later this month, is definitely a “personality”, though while before some would say that would really mean “douchebag”, he’s now a Phillie, so it’s likely he’ll now be considered “quirky and intense.”
He can be as big a jackass as he wants as long as he’s not blowing games.