Papelbon happy with one-year deal
Closer would like long-term deal, hopes Varitek returns in '09
In his first public comments since becoming the richest first-year arbitration relief pitcher, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon told Comcast SportsNet in an interview on Wednesday night that he's just fine with signing his one-year deal, which will be worth $6.25 million.
"I like rolling the dice a little bit," Papelbon said, in quotes provided by The Providence Journal.
"You have to weigh so many different things [when negotiating a long-term contract], and it's so hard to put it in perspective."
But Papelbon did admit, "You do want that security as a player, and you do want that feeling that everything's going to be OK."
While speaking on a conference call regarding the Papelbon signing on Tuesday night, Red Sox assistant general manager Jed Hoyer said the club explored the idea of a long-term deal with its closer, and will continue to do so. Papelbon confirmed that, too.
"We did discuss [a multiyear deal], but I don't think we were able to see eye-to-eye on that -- which is fine," said Papelbon.
Papelbon, who said the negotiations with the Red Sox "went a lot smoother than expected" this time around, was also asked if he'd want to stay with Boston -- the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft -- for the remainder of his career. And he didn't sound too committal.
"Obviously, that's a tough question," Papelbon said. "It is a business, and that's the nature of it. But if I feel like the Red Sox treat me fairly, and I'm in a good family environment with the Red Sox, I'd love to stay with them. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. That's the way it is, and you have to move on. But we'll see. We'll see."
Papelbon didn't leave the interview without making a pitch for the only catcher he's known in the big leagues, either.
"There's certain players in Major League Baseball ... that you take a gamble on, whether it's age or whether it's money," Papelbon said about Jason Varitek, whose return to the Red Sox for a 13th season is still in limbo. "Varitek is, no question about it, in that category.
"Whether it's a money issue or whether it's an age issue, there's no question in my mind whatsoever. You make that gamble with a person like that. It's that simple to me."
Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.