Phillies overpay for unpredictability
Closer Papelbon handed richest contract ever for relief pitcher
MILWAUKEE -- This is what you do with money to burn and an itchy trigger finger. You give Jonathan Papelbon four years and $50 million -- with an extra 58 bucks tossed in for a little numeric novelty.Beyond that "cinco ocho" addition (which works out to about 83 cents per paycheck), the signing announced Monday by the Phillies was not a particularly creative one. But with the resources they're working with, they've long since passed the point where creativity is in order. They are a nightly sellout at Citizens Bank Park, and popularity has its perks. Strike while the iron is hot, or, more accurately, the wallet is fat. No, the funny money involved here was not particularly interesting, even though this is the largest investment ever made in a relief pitcher. What was interesting was the exact path to Papelbon -- one that clearly ran right over Ryan Madson and one that could define a crazy closer's market, just as baseball's General Managers Meetings convene here at the Pfister Hotel. Begin by understanding the obvious: It's a shaky strategy to sign any reliever not named Mariano Rivera to a multiyear contract, and it's especially brave to make it a four-year pact.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.