The Papelbon effect

March 6, 2008 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

Looks to me like a relatively controversy-free Red Sox spring training thus far. Yes, closer Jonathan Papelbon wants a new contract — the poor shayne ingele only makes $425,000. “I feel a certain obligation, not only to myself and my family to make the money I deserve, but to the game of baseball,” he said. I’m sure he’ll be commanding Mariano Rivera numbers — or better — sometime soon.

Papelbon is a symbol of a Sox strength: the farm system. Pap, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester — these players helped the Sox win their second World Series in four seasons, just like the Yankees used their own farm system to develop stars like Derek Jeter and Rivera.

Granted, the Sox wouldn’t be in their current enviable positions without big-name deals and signings. Their last World Series MVP, Mike Lowell, came in a trade that also brought star pitcher Josh Beckett, while the team got the eventual 2004 Series MVP, Manny Ramirez, through free agency. A good farm system, however, can provide a team with solid players that it knows well, as opposed to gambles in free agency or trades. Strong minor-league programs also help when a team feels ready to make a big trade — Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez for Beckett and Lowell worked well for both the Sox and Florida Marlins. And farm systems provide valuable insurance; when a team loses the services of a Carney Lansford or a John Wetteland, there’s a reliable understudy waiting to step in and star.

So whether he gets a big contract or not, here’s to you, Jonathan Papelbon — and more importantly, here’s to the system that produced you.

Entry filed under: Baseball, boston red sox, sports. Tags: , , , .

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