Jonathan Papelbon has never been smart with his words to the media. Before last year's All-Star Game in New York he dissed Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, saying that he had better stats than Rivera and deserved to be the closer.
The All-Star Game was being held at Yankee Stadium during its final year and many fans wanted to see Mariano Rivera close out the final All-Star game there.
Before the deal for Wagner was made, Papelbon said he was not completely sold on having Wagner on the team. He believed the bullpen was already fine without adding the former Mets closer.
Now that Wagner is a Red Sox, the team will look closely at him to see whether he has recovered fully from the elbow injury to bring him back next year.
If he is re-signed, then let the Closer battle begin.There are several baseball writers that believe if Wagner is good enough to bring back next year, the the Red Sox should consider keeping him until as the closer until Daniel Bard is ready to be his successor.
If the Red Sox do decide to keep Wagner as the closer, what happens to Papelbon?
In the past, the Red Sox tried to convert Papelbon to a starter. That option seems to have been lost now that he has been the closer for several years in Boston.
Papelbon wouldn't be fine with the option of having to be the bridge to a man who took his job. The only option would be to trade Papelbon and that would be a smart decision, because his value is currently very high.
There are several teams out there on the market looking for a closer. The article's photo shows Jonathan Papelbon in front of the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis, a possible location where he could be traded.
The Cardinals have not had a closer set in stone since Jason Isringhausen went down with an injury and had his job taken away.
The reigning Philadelphia Phillies could want Papelbon's services. Brad Lidge is having a horrible 2009 season after pulling off a perfect 2008 campaign with no blown saves.
Ryan Madson has pitched too many innings in the past two seasons to be dependent on an arm that has been overworked. Papelbon could give the Phillies the best bullpen in the National League if he joins them.
In the American League, the Tigers could be looking for one more player who could put them over the top in that always competitive American League Central.
The Orioles don't have a dominant player at the end of their bullpen to help them close out games, and Papelbon would fit that role.
Papelbon probably would hate to move from an outstanding team like the Red Sox to the lowly Baltimore Orioles.
The White Sox currently have Bobby Jenks as their closer, but he could be used as trade bait in the Winter, so the job opportunity is created in Chicago. The White Sox would absolutely love to get Papelbon to keep up with the Tigers.
Certain players who have moved from the American League to the National League the past few years have proven to have been dominant on their new teams.
Players like K-Rod, Cliff Lee, and Rich Harden have shown that pitching in the National League is a lot easier. The Braves could climb back to the top of the National League East if they could get their hands on Papelbon.
The Cubs have a murderous line-up and their pitching is above average. Adding Papelbon would help Lou Piniella keep his job and help the Cubs break their curse.
Nobody knows if "Enter Sandman" will be playing in Boston as well as in New York for the first time. Only time will tell if the Red Sox shake up the baseball world and trade Jonathan Papelbon.
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