According to about 8,000 different people on Twitter, the Phillies are close to signing or have already signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year deal worth $50 million.
Papelbon’s coming off a strong season and has always been a very good closer, outside of a shaky 2010 campaign. But a four-year deal with the Phillies will encompass his age 31-34 seasons and pay him handsomely to provide less than 70 innings a season.
If the deal goes through, the Phillies will have roughly $93 million committed to five players for 2013 — Papelbon, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Those are all great players, of course, but by then they’ll be an average age of around 34.
The Phillies have shown a willingness to spend a ton of money lately — their payroll neared $170 million in 2011, according to Cots. But I refuse to believe dedicating so much money to so many older players is a great way to sustain a winning franchise, and given that Howard and Utley are already showing signs of decline it’s not hard to see (and cross our fingers and hope for) all the ways in which the Phillies could crash and burn within the next couple of years.
Most Mets fans don’t want to believe that, I know, and will instead point to the Papelbon signing as an example of the rich getting richer — the Phillies forgoing their 2012 first-round pick to sign Proven Closer McGillicuddy and Win At All Costs because That’s What Winning Teams Do, Heart and Guts.
And in truth, given the likely limited time in which the Phillies have to take home another championship, maybe it’s not a terrible idea to go all in for another run or two before the payroll grows lousy with old men. But they can go screw anyway. And adding Papelbon, perhaps the game’s most revolting closer, just spews more flammable vomit on the smoldering puke pyre that upchucks its way to the top of the NL East every year.
And don’t even ask me how the flaming vomit could itself vomit. It’s the Phillies. They find a way.
Oh and you know Papelbon’s going to grow a chin beard now. It’s written in to the Phillies’ facial-hair policy, actually.