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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


And, on the flip side, Papelbon remains so confident in both his ability and health that signing a contract for the sake of security might not be optimal when there potentially is a boatload of money to be made, even in the first year of arbitration. Chicago Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano would have made a record $11 million if he lost his arbitration case this past offseason. Instead, he agreed to a $12.4 million deal.

Rob Bradford got careless, which is unusual. Bradford should not mislead the reader by comparing Zambrano’s fifth year arbitration situation with a first year case. During the arbitration process, service time is one of the main factors in determining salary. In no way are the Red Sox going to offer Papelbon anything close to $11 million in his first year of arbitration, likely after the 2008 season (he could be a Super Two but that will be determined after this season). Papelbon’s arbitration case will be similar to Chad Cordero’s this past winter rather than Zambrano. Cordero beat the Nats and is getting paid $4.15 million instead of the club's offer of $3.65 million.

If the Sox and Pap do not agree on the multi-year deal and the signs point to arbitration in the future, the issue could be his usage. Basically, more saves equals more money. Hence, the more often Papelbon comes in for two inning saves or just the eighth, thereby limiting his ability to save future games, the “closer” is potentially loosing money. Papelbon’s usage could create ill will between him and the club. A multi-year deal would squash that possibility. But the Sox do not need to rush into anything. It would be prudent for the club to engage in contract discussions after the season to have a better understanding of the condition of Papelbon’s shoulder before committing any dollars. The team holds all of the cards in negotiations with zero to three years of service players, as agreed in the CBA, and they should use that leverage even with Paps.


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