Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why Not Papelbon?

Red Sox twitter has been filled with a couple topics lately. One is that the Nationals cut ties with nutzo closer Jonathan Papelbon. The general consensus seems to be that the Red Sox need to stay far far away from him. He's a crazy loon who has no place on this team.

The other topic has been the Red Sox bullpen. They have been struggling. It seems that at least one of them struggles in every game. Even when one of them pitches really well (Ziegler) it's to save the game from the implosion of another. Last night's win almost wasn't thanks to the bullpen coughing up the lead that Mookie gave the team. People aren't confident that Kimbrel can have a clean inning. They have no faith in Abad. Tazawa is so exhausted that he even looks tired in the dugout. They're all lamenting that the Sox only made one addition at the trade deadline, and he doesn't seem to be helping.

Get where I'm going with this?

So, the Sox bullpen is terrible. It's their fatal flaw. It could ruin their chances at going deep into the playoffs.

But, they shouldn't take a look at an available bullpen arm?

What's the harm in poking around? What's the harm in having a discussion. If things work out, what's the harm in giving him a try?

Assume things work out the way the Sox would want. Papelbon is willing to sign with a team, and not be the closer. He's not looking for big money because it's just a "prove it" contract for a couple months.

What would be the problem with giving him a try?

Would he be a problem in the clubhouse? He wasn't when he was here last time. Seems to me he fit in pretty well, on a World Championship team. Sure, all his boys are gone from those years. But, think Ortiz or Pedroia would let him get away with too much crap? Or David Price? And, if he does...cut him. Nothing lost except a little cash. He knows it, and you know it. 

Afraid he'd cost you a game? He might. He might go all Gagne and blow up outside the closer role. But, Abad's going to do that anyway, from what I hear. If Tazawa keeps on his current pace, he'll blow three. If Papelbon can't pitch? Cut him.

But, What if he's good? Heck, what if he's adequate? What if he can take even a third of the innings that Tazawa would have to take otherwise? Or Barnes? What if he can hold a few three run leads in the seventh inning?

Because, couldn't he be good? Back in his comfort zone? Back with Farrell? Back in Boston? If it could work anywhere, wouldn't it be Boston?

Isn't it worth a shot?


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