Steve Phillips: Red Sox Should Trade Jonathan Papelbon

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October 13, 2009

Steve Phillips: Red Sox Should Trade Jonathan Papelbon When the Red Sox' season ended unexpectedly after a crushing loss to Los Angeles on Sunday, fans were quick to assign blame. Most of it fell on one person: closer Jonathan Papelbon, who blew a Boston lead in the ninth inning.

The rational thing to do would be to wait a few months before declaring Papelbon — one of the best closers in baseball — a disgrace to the Red Sox.

But that hasn't stopped anybody from declaring that Papelbon should be shipping out of Boston. Not even ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips.

"I think if Papelbon is available, and I think he will be, I think there will be a significant market for him and the teams will really step up," he said on WEEI on Tuesday. "When you look at the Bobby Jenkses of the world who might be available via trade, and guys like that … Papelbon stands out as a difference-maker."

If Papelbon is such a difference-maker, why would the Sox be willing to part ways with him? Yes, they have Daniel Bard — who could develop into a quality closer at some point — but that day is not here yet, and right now, Papelbon's career ERA of 1.84 would be hard to abandon.

"If I'm the Red Sox, I look at the arm that Bard has," Phillips continued. "They know his stomach better than anybody. I know they see that at some point, he's a closer. I take that shot. I trade Papelbon, take that money, re-invest it somewhere else, and really, instead of dip in the free-agent market — which is not a great free agent market this year — utilize a trade to be able to really impact [the team]."

Trading Papelbon would definitely impact the team. But nobody's saying it would impact the team in a good way.

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