Jonathan Papelbon has been compared to Mariano Rivera a lot lately, and rightfully so.
As Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal points out, In Papelbon’s first six seasons (2006-11), he bagged 219 saves while Rivera — in his first six seasons (1996-01) with the Yankees — closed out 215 games despite serving as John Wetteland‘s set-up man in ’96.
Rosenthal writes: “Rivera had the lower ERA (2.16 to 2.30) in a similar number of games, but Papelbon had more strikeouts per nine innings (10.81 to 8.25), fewer walks (2.23 to 2.43) and a lower opponents? on-base percentage (.199 to .205).”
So what does this mean for Paps, the free agent, who is likely going to look for a similar $15 million payday that Mo saw last December? It means he’ll see plenty of green this offseason, but $15 million per year? “Probably not,” writes Rosenthal, who explains that “many clubs do not value closers as highly as they once did.”
He also explains the obvious, that it’s tough to compare any Yankees’ contract, as the franchise has had the highest annual payroll every year since 1999.