Phillies Like Papelbon; Pujols Visits So. Florida
–---As far as closer is concerned, things have taken a 180 since earlier in the week. Ryan Madson and the Phillies were reportedly close to a four-year contract, but those rumors were deemed false by Ruben Amaro Jr. Now it appears Jonathan Papelbon is at the top of the Phillies wishlist for closer.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com is reporting that the Phillies have “serious interest” in the Red Sox free agent ninth-inning man, seemingly moving ahead of Madson, which seemed impossible just about 48 hours ago. All we were waiting for was for the documents to be signed, sealed, delivered, and Madson would be back in the fold. Not the case, say many involved, including the tight-lipped Amaro.
Papelbon posted a 2.94 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 64 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2011, saving 31 games. Madson, on the other hand, saved 32 games with a 2.34 ERA with solid peripherals: 9.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 in 60 2/3 innings in 2011.
Papelbon is being called the top closer on the market ahead of Madson because of his track record late in games, so if four years was the going rate for Madson (although we don’t know how much truth to that there is) what is Papelbon going to ask for? As many of you are, I’m reluctant to go four or more years on any bullpen part – but by all indications, the Phillies could be willing to go there for the right guy.
–----The new Miami Marlins are looking to make some noise in free agency this offseason. They’ve met with Jose Reyes and are now turning to Albert Pujols, who is in Miami checking out their new stadium. Hope he likes a giant fishbowl behind home plate.
But seriously, the Marlins will have plenty of money to spend and could strike with a few top notch free agents. I can’t exactly picture Pujols in Miami – it would just seem weird – however, the team is making it known that with the new stadium for 2012, it will be a hot destination. So, maybe Albert will take his talents to South Beach. Imagine Reyes and Pujols together; two superstar Latino players on the same team in South Florida. Match made in heaven?