Signed, Sealed & Delivered
Jonathon Papelbon is a happy guy on this pre-dawn Friday morning, for he has a new contract that makes him the highest paid reliever with less than three years of service in all of baseball. This is from the Hartford Courant...
"The Red Sox gave Papelbon a one-year, $775,000 contract, the largest for a relief pitcher with fewer than three years' service time. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, the player Papelbon most often compares himself with, signed a $750,000 deal as a pre-arbitration player in 1998.
Papelbon, 27, was 37-for-40 on saves last season. He had a 1.85 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings before saving three of the four wins in the World Series, including the series finale."
Peter here, and the Red Sox did the right thing. A happy Jonathon Papelbon makes for very unhappy Red Sox opponents, and that's just the way we like it. The Sox weren't finished there, though. Read on, again from the Courant...
"The Red Sox also reached agreement with all 18 of their unsigned players, including Dustin Pedroia ($457,000), Jacoby Ellsbury ($406,000), Jon Lester ($421,500), Manny Delcarmen ($421,000) and Clay Buchholz ($396,000).
Also avoiding renewal: pitchers David Aardsma, Craig Breslow, Bryan Corey, Devern Hansack, Kyle Jackson, Edgar Martinez and David Pauley; catchers Dusty Brown and George Kottaras; infielders Chris Carter and Argenis Diaz and outfielder Brandon Moss."
Ok, so the money matters are just about set. JUST ABOUT. One glaring exception is the contract status of captain and catcher Jason Varitek, who can become a free agent next season. Some fans might say he's getting too old, but his study of the opposing hitters and his knowlege of what he wants his pitcher to throw and when to throw it is invaluable, so I think we'll see 'Tek behind the plate for the next two years, not including this one. He has revamped his swing, making adjustments depending on which side of the plate he is batting from. He hopes the result will be more line drives and a more even, number-wise, batting average from the left or the right side. We wish him the best season ever.
Well, my Constant Readers, it won't be long before the Boston Red Sox will be winging to Japan, the capital and home of Red Sox International. Sure, we have another three weeks or so in Florida, time for everyone to round themselves into shape. The pitchers have had a maximum of only two starts, five innings or so, and they need more. They'll get it, too, as will the hitters, every one of them, who are still making adjustments and will be figiting and tinkering the whole season long. Right now, the pitchers are ahead of the hitters, but that was not the case last night. Boston lost to old friend Derek Lowe and his LA Dodgers 9-6. The Sox were comfortably ahead for seven innings, but it was in the eighth and the ninth frames that LA scored 7 runs. Here are the Red Sox culprits, two pitchers we will NOT see in the big leagues in 2008...
H Jones (L,0-1) 2-3 1 4 2 1 1 1
L Gronkiewicz 1-3 3 3 3 1 1 1
Wakefield pitched well again, going three innings, and the score heading into the eighth inning was 6-2 good guys. In the regular season, it would have been Oki to Paps time. Bang. Game over! But this is spring training...a different breed of game.
Hey, have a great Friday. I have to prepare my tax stuff (uhh!) and pay some bills (double uhh!!) at work today, but then the weekend will start, with all the good stuff, including the Big East Women's Basketball Tournament in Hartford (the UCONN women's team is number one in the nation!!!!) heading the list. That comes up on Saturday and Sunday. And believe it or not, we change our clocks forward before sleep Saturday night...wow, eastern standard time went by so quickly. But everything does these days! Click on the title to be directed to the Boston Herald Michael Silverman article, crammed with everything you needed or wanted to know about our happy reliever, Jonathon Papelbon. And as always, BE WELL. What would I do without you?