The Red Sox avoided arbitration with closer Jonathan Papelbon and
center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, agreeing to one-year pacts with both
players on Tuesday.
The deals were finalized on the same day all clubs and arbitration-eligible players were due to exchange figures.
It didn’t come to that, as general manager Theo Epstein increased his
streak to nine years of never going to arbitration with a player.
A Major League source confirmed that Papelbon’s deal is worth $12
million and Ellsbury will make $2.4 million. CSNNE.com was first to
report the new agreements for Papelbon and Ellsbury.
This marks the third year in a row the Red Sox have signed Papelbon to a
one-year deal, and means that the righty will be eligible for free
agency for the first time in November. Papelbon earned $9.35 million
An All-Star in his first four seasons, Papelbon had a career-worst 3.90
ERA in 2010. He also had eight blown saves, another career lowlight. On
the plus side, he still saved 37 games and had an impressive
strikeout-per-nine-inning ratio of 10.21.
Boston has brought in some more pieces to support Papelbon in the bullpen for 2011, including Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler.
This was the first time Ellsbury was eligible for arbitration. So even
after playing in just 18 games last year because of left rib woes, he
got a substantial raise from the $496,500 he earned in 2010.
Ellsbury was a first-round Draft pick in 2005 and was promoted to the
Major Leagues for the stretch run in ’07. He helped fuel the club to a
World Series championship that season with a strong September and
October. Ellsbury emerged as Boston’s starting center fielder in 2008
and stole a club-record 70 bases in ’09.
The 27-year-old outfielder has played 349 games in the Majors, hitting .291 with 222 runs scored and 136 stolen bases.
Papelbon was also instrumental during the 2007 title run, performing
brilliantly in both the regular season and postseason. He has pitched in
333 games for the Red Sox, all but three of them in relief. The
30-year-old has a career 2.22 ERA and is 188-for-214 in save
I think it will be nice to see both of them in a Red Sox uniform for 2011. Papelbon and Ellsbury were both in the Red Sox system and those are the kind of guys you want to keep. They are both fan favorites and have earned their keep on the Red Sox roster.