Thursday, March 19, 2015

Should The Sox Consider A Papelbon Return?

Papelbon Flying High In 2007
Koji Uehara, our 40-year-old closer, is hurting. Edward Mujica—his likely sub—is a crap shoot. Matt Barnes—the young stud who could fill-in—has been spotty this Spring. So, there's a case to be made for bringing back Jonathan Papelbon, right? The mere suggestion has brought on a torrent of controversy in The Nation.'s Rob Bradford asked Papelbon point-blank if he'd consider a return to The Carmine Hose. Said Pap, "Of course, yeah. Of course I would. But you know that's a lot easier said than done." No kidding. A lot of fans recall his implosion in the 2009 ALDS (blowing a 2-run lead in the 9th, after which my then 13-year old son stated, "Papelbon is dead to me"). But, the man has been extremely successful in the highest-pressure pitching role in baseball. Let's look at the numbers. The 34-year old has now played in 10 seasons—compiling 325 saves. His career ERA is 2.37 and he's given up 145 fewer hits than innings pitched (the true mark of a quality pitcher). His three seasons in Philly have been pretty good as well (106 saves, 2.45 ERA). As Bradford points out, Papelbon's numbers are eerily comparable to Mariano Rivera's at the same point in their careers. If things continue to get dicey in the Red Sox M*A*S*H unit, why not consider bringing him back—along with his Bud Light head-gear?