Time For Red Sox To Bring Back Papelbon
The Washington Nationals on Saturday released former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, making him a free agent. Papelbon, 35, is 2-4 with a 4.37 ERA. He recently lost his job as National closer following the acquisition of another former Red Sox hurler, All-Star Mark Melancon, and hasn’t pitched since allowing a homer in 1 1/3 innings of mopup duty against the Giants last Saturday.
A source told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that Papelbon would welcome a return to Boston, but is prioritizing which spot will give him the best chance to succeed for the rest of the season. The Washington Post reported that the Nationals initially intended to designate Papelbon for assignment, but he requested his release so he wouldn’t have to wait 10 days to find a new team.
Papelbon is in the midst of his worst season as a pro. He’s averaging 3.6 walks and 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings, both well off his career averages of 2.3 and 10.0, respectively. There have been no reports on weather the Boston Red Sox are interested in bringing back Papelbon.
If I was in a room with Dave Dombrowski I would tell him to bring back Papelbon, who happens to be the best closer in Red Sox history. He saved a franchise-record 219 games in seven seasons here, and was on the mound when the Red Sox clinched the 2007 World Series.
With the Red Sox bullpen suffering sever injuries this season and other relievers showing inconsistencies bringing back Papelbon to finish out the season is a low risk high reward scenario. If he comes in and pitches like he has in Washington, then it is no big deal since the contract terms would be over at the end of the season. The Red Sox could test him in easy situations where the team has a lead to see if he has anything left in the tank.
By some miracle he is able to have a career revival by coming back to Boston, then you could be looking at a team poised for a deep playoff run. Either way the bullpen could use another arm, especially one that has been to the playoffs multiple times and has had success in high pressure situations.