Could Jonathan Papelbon Be Papel-Gone before Next Season?

Anthony EmersonAnalyst IOctober 12, 2009

BOSTON - OCTOBER 11:  Pitcher Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after allowing three runs in the ninth inning to blow the save against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Game Three of the ALDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Fenway Park on October 11, 2009 in Boston,  Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jonathan Papelbon allowed two inherited runs to score in the top of the eighth inning in Game Three of the Best of Five series against the Angels. He allowed three of his own in the ninth inning.

Jonathan Papelbon had the worst season of his career. Don't be swayed by his pretty little 1-1 record or his 1.95 ERA. He had a career high in walks (24), WHIP (1.15), and was only four hits shy of his career high in hits allowed, set last year. He also set many other career highs in 2008 (ERA, earned runs, and opponents batting average).

Is this just a rough two-season stretch? Or the start of the potential downfall of Papelbon's career?

The Red Sox might trade Papelbon.

They have young flamethrower Daniel Bard waiting in the shadows. If the Red Sox do trade Papelbon, it would be a pure Moneyball move, a move which was even mentioned multiple times in the book: selling the closer.

Think about what they could get for Papelbon: an outfielder to replace Jason Bay (if need be), a steady shortstop, and maybe a young catcher or another reliever.

To me (and to other people who have read Moneyball) trading Papelbon makes sense. I wouldn't trade him to any team in the American League East. Other than that, every team is fair game.

Tons of teams need pitching help. The Brewers are the first team to jump to my mind. Papelbon can take over for Trevor Hoffman once he leaves Milwaukee.

Would the Red Sox be better off without Paps? What do you think, Red Sox Nation?