Outta’ Right Field: Papelbon may be perfect fit for Phils

By Nick LaRosa
November 15, 2011

The signing of former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon sent shock waves around the city of Philadelphia on Monday, Nov. 14. While his mammoth $50 million contract was viewed by some as being too pricey, there are a number of reasons to justify the excessive dollar amount.

For one, Papelbon’s stats are phenomenal. Just a week away from his 31st birthday, Papelbon brings over 200 career saves with him to the City of Brotherly Love. He has managed to notch 31 or more saves in six straight seasons and has posted sub-three ERAs in five of those campaigns.

Papelbon has also been fairly solid in the playoffs with seven postseason saves to his name. He may have had a rough time in the 2009 American League Division Series against the Angels, but he won a World Series ring with Boston in 2007. In fact, he recorded the save in Game 4 to clinch Boston’s seventh World Series title.

While his accolades speak for themselves, Papelbon’s personality is also something that could provide a spark to the Phillies roster, both on and off the field. While on the pitcher’s mound, Papelbon is fierce and can make opposing hitters uncomfortable. Past Phillies closers have not been as outgoing and theatrical as No. 58.

Speaking of theatrics, Papelbon has been known to get himself into and out of jams on a near-nightly basis. He is one of those players that can get out of bases-loaded dilemmas by striking out two batters or getting a clutch double play.

Saves, strikeouts and theatrics – what more could you want from a closer? How about a determined winning attitude? Papelbon has that characteristic, too.

In an interview with WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, Papelbon made it known he wants to be a champion again. “I came here to add to my ring collection,” Papelbon said.

While some Phillies fans are already irked by the fact that the closer’s deal came out to be $50,000,058, with the extra $58 representing his jersey number, others understand that Papelbon is a completely different person than Ryan Madson. He may be viewed as being quirky but the important thing is that he came here with the desire to win.

Say what you want about his personality or the fact that he is already over the age of 30. Jonathan Papelbon brings talent, experience and character to his new team in Philadelphia.

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Nick LaRosa

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