The Red Sox are in a precarious situation with Jonathan Papelbon. Well, not really.
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reported a month ago that Papelbon would like to be the "number one guy" during free agency after the 2011 campaign. That would essentially mean that the one-year deal the Sox just tossed to Papelbon to avoid arbitration (worth $12M) would be more of a lease on the closer.
Even if he does leave town next year, he will likely still bring some relevant draft picks to Boston. With the addition of Bobby Jenks and the emergence of Daniel Bard, Papelbon is certainly not that big of a worry in Boston.
On one side of the coin, the Red Sox could really benefit from a trade of Papelbon this season, mainly due to the fact that he will net them nothing next year when/if he leaves. If Boston can net an outfielder, they would have the best outfield in the league.
Conversely, if the Sox can put together a run this year, Papelbon might offer the home town discount to Boston. I don't know why he wouldn't. Boston has been the biggest winner during the offseason with the key additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
Hypothetically, because this is all us baseball fans at the moment, let's take a look at 5 possible deals should another club take a chance on Papelbon before he's a free agent.