The market may have been set for Jonathan Papelbon today when the Phillies agreed to terms with their closer, Ryan Madson, on a four-year, $44 million deal with an option for a fifth season.
Madson, 31, has an earned run average of 3.59 and 52 saves over parts of nine seasons. Papelbon, who turns 31 later this month, has a 2.33 ERA and 219 saves over seven seasons.
If Madson is worth $11 million a year, Papelbon could land a deal with an average annual value of $14 million.
The bad news is there is one less moneyed suitor for his services.
Papelbonís agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, have worked quickly in prior offseasons to make deals. Now that the Phillies have set the market for closers, Papelbon could soon know whether he is remaining with the Red Sox or finding a new team.
Papelbon went year to year with his contract in the hopes that it would pay off come free agency. It appears that strategy will pay off handsomely for him. The Blue Jays and Nationals are seeking closers along with the Red Sox. The Rangers could join that group if Neftali Feliz goes into the rotation.
Can Papelbon get four years and $56 million? After that Madson deal, it's probably what he should ask for.