Jonathan Papelbon: In Brief

“God blessed me with my right arm. That’s all you got.”
— Jonathan Papelbon, during the 2007 World Series

Oct. 10, 2008 - The Standard-Times

Oct. 10, 2008: Cover and story. I don't need much excuse to post this, though it's now reminding me it finished second to a far worst cover in that year's NEAPNEA design contest.

Yeah, you could say that.

A couple nights after he said that, the Red Sox won their second World Series in four years. The team had a core of guys who, thanks to their youth, were all making well under $1 million for the year: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester and Papelbon.

That was as good as it got for them. Great teams, great players and they never got back.

The first of those five just left town, given the largest contract ever to a relief pitcher. Philadelphia, built for several years on the concept of winning now at the expense of worrying about later later, is going to get a damn good closer for at least the next two years, if not longer.

Whether the Red Sox should have kept him isn’t really my point: they didn’t have a chance once he hit free agency, and they were going to have a hell of a time keeping him from free agency even if they went whole hog into it. My point is the first of those five core guys is gone.

Winning’s nice. Winning with players you draft and develop, watching them become superstars every day, is a little nicer.

Even knowing it was coming for years, the reality’s still a little surreal.