The Phillies are in a situation similar to the Red Sox' when it comes to their bullpen. As they consider whether to re-sign their closer, Ryan Madson, they're also exploring other options, including Jonathan Papelbon.
The Phillies have had talks with Papelbon, as well as Madson, and seem determined to sign one of the two closers, according to SI.com's Jon Heyman. The Phillies reportedly like their style.
Both closers are, of cousre, free agents. Papelbon has spent his entire seven-year career in Boston, while Madson has spent his first nine seasons in Philadelphia, serving primarily as a set-up man until former closer Brad Lidge and fill-in closer Jose Contreras went down with injuries last season.
Heyman reported earlier in the day Monday that the Red Sox are also among the teams interested in Madson, setting up a bit of a bizarre situation when it comes to each team's closer role.
Papelbon saved 31 games in 34 chances last season, while racking up a 4-1 record, a 2.94 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. His only loss — and one of his three blown saves — came in the team's season finale in Baltimore, when the Red Sox blew a ninth-inning lead to complete one of the worst collapses in MLB history.
Madson, meanwhile, racked up 32 saves in 34 chances in 2011, while posting a 2.37 ERA in 62 appearances.
According to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, one industry source indicated that the Phillies would prioritize Madson due to their familiarity with the closer, although Papelbon has received strong interest on the open market. ESPN's Jayson Stark called Papelbon Philadelphia's "Plan B."
Bradford also points out that each of the two closers is a Type-A free agent, which could potentially result in the Red Sox and/or Phillies receiving two draft picks if they offer arbitration to their 2011 closer and he rejects it in order to sign with another team.
In other words, stay tuned.