Papelbon: Worth The Money?

Jeremy ForsythContributor IFebruary 24, 2010

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 18:  Closing pitcherJonathan Papelbon #58 and the Boston Red Sox celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians by a score of 7-1 to take Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Jacobs Field on October 18, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Red Sox won the game 7-1 making the series 3-2.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Jonathon Papelbon recently agreed, yet again, to a one-year deal worth $9.35 million, with incentives that could push him to $9.5 million.

Unfortunately, right now the only memory generated when a Sox fan hears the name "Papelbon" is that fateful day in October when he got shelled for three runs in the bottom of the ninth, a memory that won't soon be forgotten. Papelbon remembers it well, and rightfully so, but he's putting it to good use. According to Pap, he has the game on tape and watches it while he works out, using it as motivation to finish strong. Papelbon left a bad taste in a lot of Red Sox fan's mouths this year, which is not surprising, as his last outing ended in a five month span filled with thousands of fans begging Theo to trade for a big bat.

Some fans protested that the Sox should use Pap as trade bait this offseason for the likes of Halladay, Gonzalez, or King Felix, but as we all know, Halladay is with the Phillies, Gonzalez is in San Diego until June, and Felix just signed an extension. Regardless, Papelbon's financial demands are far too luxurious for the likes of the Padres, the Mariners had possibly the best offseason in the league, and every Red Sox fan is happy that Halladay has moved to another league. 

The question that many people are now asking themselves, after a declining year for Papelbon, is whether or not he is worth the $9.35 million that the Sox are shelling out for him this year? Should they have tried harder to make a big stick happen this offseason, especially with Bard up and coming? A little research online revealed some interesting facts.

Fangraphs has a great site which uses statistical analysis to generate a players monetary "worth" or "value". For the past four years, Papelbon has provided the Red Sox with an abundance more value than he has received from the front office, as illustrated below.

In 2006, Papelbon was worth $12,000,000, and got paid $335,400, a difference of $11,664,600 in the Red Sox favor.

In 2007, he was worth $9,100,000, and got paid $425,500, a difference of $8,674,500 in the Sox favor.

Into 2008, Pap was worth $13,500,000 this year, and got paid $775,000, a difference of $12,725,000, once again in the Sox favor.

Finally 2009 starts, and at the end of the season, Pap created a worth of $8,800,000, and got paid $6,250,000, a difference of $2,550,000.

As of the start of the 2010 season, Papelbon has overall provided the Red Sox with $43,400,000 worth of work for a cost of $7,785,900, a difference of $35,614,100.

Not everyone will agree with the fangraphs evaluations, but it is the best analysis of a players worth that is available.  Stats will tell you that Papelbon's 2009 campaign was one of his worst, as his WHIP increased and his K/9 decreased, and his value decreased significantly as well.

So as spring training commences, the Red Sox and their fans will again embrace Papelbon, but for how long this time? He may be one of the best closers, but even he isn't immune to a July 31st trade.