BOSTON (CBS) – Multiple reports say Jonathan Papelbon has agreed to a 4-year 50 million dollar deal to close for the Philadelphia Phillies.
It’s would be the largest contract ever given to a relief pitcher.
“We haven’t made an offer to this point,” said Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington. “What we’d be willing to do at this point in the offseason given what our other needs are, and given what we feel the alternatives are, is not something that matched up with what Pap was looking for, because of that we never made a formal offer.”
Papelbon is the Red Sox all time saves leader and played a huge role when they won the World Series in 2007.
Nothing is official until Papelbon takes his physical, which ESPN reports will happen next week.
Listen to the interview with Cherington
Cherington says he knew there would be high demand for the closer.
“Pap has worked extremely hard to put himself in a position to go into free agency coming off a really successful season, and we knew that he was going to be in demand.”
Cherington says he wouldn’t be surprised if Papelbon didn’t call them back.
“I don’t think he owes a phone call back, ” he says. “We weren’t going to be able to bridge that gap at this point in the offseason, we wanted to leave the door open if we got deeper in the offseason”
Will Cherington miss Papelbon?
“I would be disappointed in the sense that I have great admiration for Pap, I would love to have him on the team still, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the reports were true.”
Cherington says there are many options for the Red Sox closer role.
“I do believe we have a couple of internal options to close,” said Cherington. “Because we feel like there are alternatives both internal and perhaps external as well, it’s a bountiful closer market relative to some years, I just think we felt that right now the focus was going to be on other areas of the team.”
Cherington said Daniel Bard is ready to step up.
“Daniel would embrace more responsibility and is ready for more responsibility, we’re not ready to commit to any role for Daniel or any other member of the bullpen.”