The Red Sox came very close to playing without their longtime closer in 2011.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the Red Sox seriously considered trading Jonathan Papelbon during the 2010 offseason. The Red Sox attempted to trade Papelbon to the Athletics or the White Sox, but neither deal went through because both teams picked up other relievers.
Papelbon’s struggles throughout 2010 were likely a trade deterrent for both Oakland and Chicago. The Red Sox’ closer recorded a 3.90 ERA in 65 appearances for Boston last season, posting a career-high eight blown saves. His high arbitration salary ($12 million) also turned teams away from a trade.
Oakland instead signed Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour for bullpen support, while Chicago signed Jesse Crain and likely will have Matt Thornton replace Bobby Jenks as its new closer.
Papelbon will become a free agent after the 2011 season.