Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, May 02, 2012 02:00 PM Comments: 6
Jonathan Papelbon sits atop the Major Leagues as its saves leader, closing the door in 9 out of 9 save opportunities. Papelbon is sporting a miniscule ERA, a strikeout per inning pitched, and has provided a stop-gap solution in the back end of the bullpen.
In the off-season, Papelbon received the second-highest salary per year a closer has ever received. A lot of folks, both Phillies Nation commentators and commentors a like, were critical of the move. The money spent on Papelbon, they argued, would be better spent addressing shortstop, left field, and finding a viable fill-in for Ryan Howard at first base. And at the time, and even now, it is argued that the money spent on Papelbon would prohibit them from extending Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and/or Hunter Pence or finding a 3rd baseman for 2013.
Yet, Papelbon has delivered. Among NL relievers whose primary job description is closer, Papelbon is tops in ERA and has yet to blow a save. While his peripherals, particularly FIP, xFIP, and K/9 IP, put him in the upper-middle class of NL closers, Papelbon has gotten the job done. Was the decision to sign Papelbon wise? Let’s compare his performance to other current closers who were available free agents in the off-season. Continue reading Hindsight, Foresight Favorable to Papelbon Acquisition