Jonathan Papelbon - #58 (Relief Pitcher)*
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Age: 30, Size: 6'4" 225 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th Round of the 2003 Amateur Draft
Contract: Arbitration Eligible (9.35 mil in 2010) - FA in 2012
Comments: Papelbon entered his fifth year as the Boston closer in 2010. The former starter prospect, known for his stare-down and flamboyance, put together his worst year in a Sox uniform. While he saved 37 games, he also posted a 3.90 ERA and 1.269 WHIP both career highs (excluding his 2005 season). His defense independent stats were also poor for a Pap's like season (FIP - 3.51, xFIP - 3.72). Having put up some outstanding seasons at the back end of the Boston pen (2006-2009), this could be his last in the Sox uniform, Both sides (Pap's camp and the Sox FO) have been reluctant to negotiate a long-term deal over his career and it looks like he will move on to the FA market and the Sox will take their draft pick and move on. From 2006-2009, Papelbon was clearly one of the best closers in the business.
Unique Stats/Facts: From 2006-2010, Papelbon has compiled the highest cummulative WAR for relief pitchers in the majors at 11.6 (He is closely followed by Rivera with 11.4)
Analysis: As stated in the comments above, this is likely Papelbon's last year with the Sox. Both Daniel Bard and Bobby Jenks are under team control in 2012 and it is highly unlikely that Papelbon is re-signed. The Sox will most likely use Papelbon's contract year this year and move on without him garnering draft picks along the way in 2012. Since it is Pap's year to re-prove himself, this will only serve to work in the team's favor. Still, he's only 30 years old and 2010 could have just been a down year. I would not be surprised if he bounces back to earn a big paycheck on the FA market.
Projection (James): 2.61 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 9.91 K/9, 5-3 w/ 41 Saves
Tomorrow: Hideki Okajima (* admittedly, I missed both Okajima and Ortiz, but I already had this written up)