The Phillies aren't ready to settle down and rollover just yet. Three full seasons after the 2008 World Series victory, and an appearance in 2009 in the WS loss to the NY Yankees, the Phillies are still full throttle after the top free agents in a quest to remain in the top of the NL hunt.
The Phils have shuffled some cards so far this offseason and have landed one of the top closers in the game of baseball. Jonathan Papelbon is an all-star pitcher who pitched 63 innings for the Red Sox last year, and will probably log that many innings for the Phillies as a closer in the 2012 season. The amount of Papelbon's contract has some questioning whether any relief pitcher is worth that kind of money. The deal is said to be $12.5M per year for 4 years. Doing the math, it does seem like a lot of money for a pitcher who is throwing a limited amount of innings each year.
Papelbon's numbers in Boston:
|2003||22||BOS-min||1||2||.333||6.34||13||0||32.2||2||36||LOW · NYPL|
|2004||23||BOS-min||12||7||.632||2.64||24||0||129.2||6||153||SAR · FLOR|
|2005||24||BOS-min||6||4||.600||2.59||21||1||114.2||11||110||PRT,PAW · EL,IL|
|162 Game Avg.||4||3||.548||2.33||67||37||73||5||87|
The Ryan Madson issue is one that deserves a second look. What happened to that announced almost finished deal ? Did Ryan and his agent seek more money? Or possibly the Phillies top brass didn't think that Madson had the stuff that they were looking for to be the permanent Phillies closer? Madson pitched 60.2 innings for the Phillies last year, he only gave up 2 HR and his ERA was 2.37 on the season. He had almost identical numbers with Papelbon. However, Madson was not exclusively the closer on this team until the playoffs in 2011.
Here is Madson's numbers as a Phillies pitcher:
|1998||17||PHI-min||3||3||.500||4.83||12||10||54.0||5||52||MTV · APPY|
|1999||18||PHI-min||5||5||.500||4.72||15||15||87.2||5||75||BAT · NYPL|
|2000||19||PHI-min||14||5||.737||2.59||21||21||135.2||5||123||KAN · SALL|
|2001||20||PHI-min||9||9||.500||3.90||22||21||117.2||4||101||CLW · FLOR|
|2002||21||PHI-min||16||4||.800||3.20||26||26||171.1||11||132||REA · EL|
|2003||22||PHI-min||12||8||.600||3.60||28||28||165.0||9||147||SWB,CLW · IL,FLOR|
|2004||23||PHI-min||0||0||4.50||2||1||2.0||1||1||REA · EL|
|2007||26||PHI-min||0||0||0.00||2||0||3.0||0||4||REA · EL|
|2010||29||PHI-min||0||1||.000||3.18||5||0||5.2||1||6||CLW,REA,LHV · FLOR,EL,IL|
|2011||30||PHI-min||0||0||0.00||1||1||1.0||0||1||CLW · FLOR|
|162 Game Avg.||6||4||.610||3.59||66||2||84||8||73|
With a decision reached, and the Phillies content with their signing of Papelbon, they can now turn their attention towards the shortstop position and Jimmy Rollins. Will they or won't they? Remember, a shortstop isn't primarily the one who is supposed to 'carry' a team. Rollins has done that and more with the Phillies over the years that he's been on the team. Is he a solid defensive shortstop? Yes, no doubt about it. Will he be the same as a younger player at that position? Probably not, but Rolllins has the experience and is in the prime of his career right now. He could be a lifetime player with the Phillies, he's 32 now and another decent contract and Jimmy will be one of only a few players to stay with the Phillies his whole career.