According to Peter Abraham at the Boston Globe, the Phillies and Papelbon have agreed to terms on a four year $50M contract that includes a vesting option for a fifth season. Despite being an elite closer for six seasons, it’s unlikely he’ll provide enough on-field value to justify his contract. Assuming the average value of a win inflates at a consistent rate of 5% per season through 2015, he’ll need to average approximately 2.5 fWAR over each of the next four seasons. Given he’s averaged 2.43 fWAR per season during his six seasons in Boston, it’s certainly possible. Still, it’s a bit of a risk since the Phillies are paying for his age 31-34 seasons; as opposed to the age 24-30 seasons like Boston. The chances of his performance declining from it’s current baseline are pretty solid.
While I’m sad to see Papelbon leave as a fan, it’s probably best that he leave now. In a way, Papelbon going to Philly seems oddly appropriate. (I’ll leave it at that.) Papelbon leaves the Red Sox after six-plus seasons as the all-time team leader in saves with 219, a 2.60 FIP, and 15.1 fWAR.