8/24/09

On the Wagelbon Episode

We're hoping Wagelbon catches on as a way of referring to the apparently contentious duo of Billy Wagner and Jonathan Papelbon, who may soon be together in the Boston bullpen.  As we're sure you know, the Mets placed Wagner on waivers, not wanting to be on the hook for the rest of the money he's owed this season and the $8 million club option for next year.  Boston put the claim on Wagner, for reasons that Theo Epstein didn't publicly explain but which are probably along the lines of "we're a contending team and would like to have all the talent we can get." 

Now, if we were a Red Sock(x?), we can't really imagine we'd have a problem with this.  The goal is to win the World Series, as countless players have told us, so why not be happy that your GM is working to bring a guy on board who would help you get there?  Well, Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen, apparently.  Both expressed concern that Wagner joining the team would cause issues with the bullpen chemistry, and that they are good enough without him.

They aren't entirely wrong in that assertion either; they're second in the league in bullpen ERA with a 3.56 mark.  But Wagner has something very important going for him: he's left-handed.  And the Sox only have one other lefty reliever, Hideki Okajima.  Okajima's been good, with a 2.77 ERA in 52 IP, to go along with 47 K and 18 BB.  But it doesn't seem like a great recipe for postseason success, going in with one lefty.  We mean, if you use Okajima as a LOOGY, all of a sudden you've taken away one of your better options for a full inning of work.  And how long can Daniel Bard, Manny Delcarmen, and Jonathan Papelbon - who's been shaky with his control this year - shoulder the 7th-8th-9th grind with a full month to play before the playoffs?  Depth in the bullpen is always good, and if you can bring in a guy like Wagner, who (we think) would cost only money, seems a no-brainer, especially for a rich organization like the Sox. 

Oh, and Jonathan Papelbon really needs to rethink how he talks to the media.  Not because we think athletes should be boring, but because...man, he sounds like a dick.  Have some respect for a 38-year old battling through Tommy John rehab, and hope you never end up there. 

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