Please pay attention, all you fans out there that want the Red Sox to pull back in Jonathan Papelbon.
Don't be beguiled by the 2011 numbers.
Don't get that glassy eyed stare as you remember him doing that hokey dance on the World Series field.
Don't think it will ever be like that again, because the signs are there if you look.
He is a classic example of the overvalued commodity that baseball places on closers. You don't want this burden on your Red Sox payroll.
You really don't.
He has a $50 million 4 year deal he is just embarking on. It could be up to $68 million over 6 years if an option vests.
Still not convinced?
Well lets zoom in on the signs of his declining effectiveness, they are everywhere. His fastball velocity is down from 95 mph in 2011 to 92.4 mph in 2013. He is now striking out 7.91 batters per inning, a career low down from 10.8 in the years before 2013. Fewer strikeouts means more balls in play. So far he has been lucky, opponents batting .282 against him on balls in play verses the league average of .300.
Lets look at his impact as a closer for the Phillies. They have converted 64 of 94, or 68.1% of their save opportunities. The league average is 69.5%
So for $50 - $68 million you get a closer who works only 66 games in a year, does not boost your save percentages, is declining in fastball velocity, is declining in strikeouts, and has complained of hip soreness along with general fatigue this season.
I bet his hokey dance moves are not even up to snuff either...
Eric is a contributing writer since 2013 and a true Overseas Fan of the Boston Red Sox living in the Netherlands. He's spent years on baseball fields around the world pitching. His weekends are now spent helping the next generations of pitchers to find their passion and love for the sport. More articles by Eric: https://www.redsoxlife.com/search/label/ericschabell