Papelbon, who turned 30-years-old last week, would likely make well over $10 million in arbitration after signing for $9.35 million last year. This in spite of a mediocre performance in 2010, where the once-dominant reliever proved all-too-hittable, posting career highs in ERA (3.90) and FIP (3.51). So inconsistent was Papelbon that many Red Sox fans have called for the team to non-tender or trade him, and move Daniel Bard into the role of closer.
While Papelbon will at least fill a spot in the Red Sox' questionable bullpen, at $10 million they could likely have found more and better options. If Papelbon can bounce back, he'll be worth it, but with two straight years of decline, that's not exactly a likely scenario.