Moral: Whine to the press enough, and you’ll get a record-breaking contract? Well, probably not.
Jonathan Papelbon should be happy becoming the highest-paid reliever with two-plus years of service time ever after agreeing to terms for a 2008 contract.
The one-year deal is worth $775,000, according to a baseball source, breaking the $750,000 benchmark set by Mariano Rivera with the Yankees before the 1998 season.
The salary is the second-highest ever for a pitcher with two-plus years of experience. Ismael Valdez was signed by the Dodgers for $900,000 in 1997.
In fact, I’m not sure why this couldn’t have been done behind closed doors, between the Sox, Papelbon and his agents. No carping. No controversy. Sadly, my view of Papelbon has been altered by this ministorm — and not by this, per se, but by this and similar comments he made last offseason.
He deserves every penny of it — after all, he’s had a better first two seasons than Mariano Rivera did — and considering the deals the Sox have reached in the past with arb and pre-arb players, it seems we would have gotten here one way or the other.
So I guess I’m still mystified why Papelbon chose the bumpy road when the smooth one led to the same place.