Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Papelbon's Velocity Drop Makes Trade Difficult

(Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)
Back in Spring Training of 2005, my then 9-year old son and I were attending a BoSox Club event in Fort Myers featuring two Red Sox stars of the future—Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon. My son wanted to weave through the big crowd and get their autographs. "Nah, let's go", I said. "Neither one of these guys will make it". Fast forward to Game Three of the 2009 ALDS at Fenway. In the top of the ninth, with Boston up 6-4, Papelbon gets the first two outs. Here we come, Game Four! Then, the Curse of Eric Aybar kicked in—single, walk, double, walk, single. Game and season over. My then 13-year old coldly stated, "Papelbon is dead to me". After a couple of more decent seasons (in his Red Sox career he converted 88% of his save opportunities), Pap fled to Philly in free agency. After losing a full five miles per hour on his fastball last year, he is serious trade bait. But the $26 million he is still owed is a huge impediment to any reasonable transaction. Rueben Amaro, Jr. will have to hypnotize some other GM to move Papelbon. My oh my, how times have changed!