Daniel Bard might be the best bard to work his magic from a pen since William Shakespeare, but there is no proof he is a closer the caliber of Papelbon. He might throw like Nolan Ryan, but close games like Ken Ryan. You just don't know.
That's why lights-out closers like Papelbon and Nathan are one of the most undervalued commodities in modern baseball.
Chris Gasper at the Globe pokes a beehive. Can this last line possibly be true, what with Mariano Rivera and Francisco Rodriguez both making as much money as they do? Hell, Bobby Jenks has 4.09 years of service and is making over $7M, while Dustin Pedroia's new-ish backloaded contract pays him merely $3.75M. Jonathan Papelbon himself, with only 4.06 years of service is outearning Victor Martinez (6.1 years of service) $9.3M to $7.7M. He goes on to compare relievers to starters, but fails to acknowledge the simple idea that innings have value, regardless of context. He then goes on to offer this whopper:
Arguably, the biggest reason the Yankees have won five world titles in Rivera's 15 seasons is Rivera.
Now, we love Mariano, even as a Sox fan. And we pretty obviously know how great a player he is. But is he the "biggest" reason the Yankees won those five world series? Would Yankee fans even make this claim? Really, who PUT Rivera in the position to close any of the games he did close? This claim of Gasper's seems really silly.
Curious to know the thoughts from readership.