"I think if Papelbon is available, and I think he will be, I think there will be a significant market for him and the teams will really step up," he said on WEEI on Tuesday. "When you look at the Bobby Jenkses of the world who might be available via trade, and guys like that ... Papelbon stands out as a difference-maker."Sure, Papelbon is a difference maker. His performance as the Red Sox closer since 2006 has been phenomenal.
However, I have no idea where Phillips is coming from saying that there will be a significant market for Papelbon. The only teams that would be willing to take on Papelbon and the $9 or so million that he will make in arbitration are teams with high payrolls.
Here is the list of teams with payrolls exceeding $90 million in 2009 and their potential closing situation for 2010:
Cardinals: Ryan Franklin
White Sox: Jenks (or Thornton)
Red Sox: Papelbon
Phillies: Brad Lidge
Cubs: Carlos Marmol (????)
Mets: Francisco Rodriguez
Yankees: Mariano Rivera
So out of 12 teams with $90+ million dollar payrolls, only three of them (maybe the Cubs as well) have uncertain closing situations as we look forward to 2010.
However, the Astros have stated publicly that they are looking to cut payroll in 2010, so I doubt they'd be looking to spend $9 million (plus the prospects) on a closer.
Also, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has stated publicly that the team will have payroll constraints this offseason. Unless they can move some salary around, I doubt the Tigers would look to add Papelbon.
So that leaves us with the Braves and possibly the Cubs. And even the Cubs have limited payroll flexibility this offseason!
The "significant market" that Phillips refers to consists of one team that needs a closer (Braves), two teams that need a closer and have payroll limitations (Tigers and Astros), and one team that might need a closer, but might not be able to pony up for Papelbon (Cubs).
Who knows? Things can chance in the next few weeks. But right now, the significant market Steve Phillips is referring to is shaky at best.
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