I read about this during my morning purusal of SB Nation and just about fell out of my seat. The pitching rich Phillies get even better and now have a top tier closer in Papelbon. Not only is this a coup for the Phils, but it makes the Red Sox quite a bit weaker.
The Sox completely fell apart in September and one of the big reasons for this was the bullpen. Papelbon was as much to blame as anyone else, but he is still a top tier closer and has parlayed 215 saves already in his career. He is well on his way to 500 career saves and it looks like it will be done with the Phillies. To put it in a better perspective, this is the equivalent to the Yankees letting go Mariano Rivera in the prime of his career.
Just like any closer Paps is going to have his up and downs, but what you can’t erase are his career numbers of 215 saves, 2.33 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 509 strikeouts in 429 innings. In other words, the guy is a beast. Now with Papelbon, the Phillies will send Madson packing and more than likely he could end up on the Sox! I have to admit I am rather happy about this. In my mind this is the start of a possible exodus from Boston and a likely Yankee Reign for a few more years.
In other Phillies moves, they also landed Jim Thome for a year to essentially be the Ryan Howard insurance policy. Although I am not surprised by this move, mainly because Thome is a manager in waiting and whoever lands him last is going to have the best chance to keep him in the franchise. I can easily see him managing the Phillies in the near future, whenever Charlie Manual decides to hang it up, which can’t be too far in the future. Thome will most likely never get to the 700 home run plateau but it sure would be fun to see him try.
I have to say, so far (although very early in the hot stove season) the Phillies are looking phine!