Anonymous Sources And Jonathan Papelbon

All Star Game, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, MiLB, Players, Prospects

Anonymous sources are often used in opinion/news pieces online and in the newspapers. I’ve repeatedly said that these “sources” could just as easily be conjured out of thin air by an unscrupulous or lazy writer who wants to make a statement and bolster it with the “credibility” of a baseball employee.

In this piece by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Jonathan Papelbon‘s pending free agency is discussed. Both the pros-and-cons of letting Papelbon go or keeping him are discussed.

The Red Sox will do what they feel is right without sentiment. After the way they coldly dispatched Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Johnny Damon and ignored David Ortiz‘s empty threats that they’d better extend his contract—they’ll let him leave if that’s what they think is the right thing to do.

The Red Sox reaction to Ortiz appeared to be a version of, “Yeah? Or what?” which is exactly the way they should’ve responded.

Cafardo quotes an unnamed executive from a National League team wondering about the wisdom of breaking up the Daniel Bard/Papelbon late-inning combination.

Do you know who this executive is? I don’t know who this executive is.

It could be someone whose credibility is unquestioned; it could be someone who works for Nationals and suggested that it was a good idea for the club to trade for Jonny Gomes.

In other words, it could be anyone. That “anyone” makes it possible that it’s a person to whom Red Sox GM Theo Epstein could say—without bullying pomposity, just fact—“who the hell are you to be telling me how to run my team with 2 championships in the past 9 years and an annual playoff berth?!?”

We don’t know who was dispensing this wisdom and it’s due to it being from an “anonymous source”.

I hearken back to the “rumor” that the Phillies and Cardinals were talking about a trade of Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols; supposedly there was an executive in the Phillies organization who leaked this idea. Buster Olney broke it; ESPN discussed it as if it had some validity.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. shot it down as if it was nonsense and seemed angry about it because it was so stupid.

It sounded like nonsense because it was nonsense. I said at the time that I’d have found out who it was (if they exist)—one way or the other—and fired that person.

Who knows where it comes from?

Cafardo has a point with Papelbon—there are options available, but those same options could hinder Papelbon’s hopes to land a big, long-term contract. The relationship between pitcher and club has been complicated; he wants to get paid and the Red Sox aren’t going to break the bank to keep him. He might stay because he doesn’t have much of a choice, but it won’t be because the Red Sox are desperate for him to stay.

As a rule, the Red Sox don’t think as much of the designated “closer” role as other clubs do and while Papelbon has gotten the big outs in the post-season, that won’t yield him a 4-5 year deal from them.

Will another team?

That, more than anonymous quotes or writer’s suggestions will determine whether Papelbon stays or goes.


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