This offseason promised to be a major one for the Boston Red Sox, and it is becoming more and more evident that the Sox of 2012 are going to look a *lot* different than the Sox of 2011. Their manager is unemployed, their general manager is now in Chicago, and now their closer works for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Jonathan Papelbon signed a four-year deal with the Phillies on Friday, giving Philadelphia a little more stability in their closer role after having gone through years of Brad Lidge's Hulk/Bruce Banner transformations and this past season living through the Ryan Madson/Jose Contreras/Antonio Bastardo experiment. It was earlier believed that the Phillies had an agreement with Madson for four years at something like $10-11 million per, but that never came to pass, perhaps because they valued Papelbon that much more than Madson and had a little birdie tell them that they could get the Sox closer for a few million more a season, and hey - what's a few million between friends?
The Papelbon signing means that the Phillies will give up their first round pick to Boston (assuming Boston "offers Papelbon arbitration", which may not apply if the contract has already been signed), as well as Boston receiving a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. The Papelbon signing also means that the Phillies won't re-sign Madson, who is also a Type A free agent, meaning that the first round pick that the Phillies lose for signing Papelbon will likely be replaced by a first round pick from the team signing Madson, assuming some team with a pick in the first fifteen picks doesn't sign him, in which case the Phillies would get a second round pick. And as you know, the first thing on a losing team's shopping list is a questionable closer.
Side note to the Papelbon signing - his guaranteed contract is for four years, $50,000,058. Yes, he tacked on an extra 58 bucks to represent his jersey number. This is probably interesting news to Bastardo, who has worn #58 for the Phillies the last three seasons. Considering that Papelbon #58 Phillies gear is already being sold through the MLB and Phillies websites, it doesn't look like Antonio's going to get a chance to sell his number like some others have done in the past.