Friday, March 23, 2007

To the surprise of practically no one, the Red Sox announced that Jonathan Papelbon was being returned to his role as closer. Julian Tavarez will take Papelbon's place in the starting rotation.

This is a good move by the Sox. None of the potential candidates were stepping up into the closers role, and none of them, other than the 40-year-old Mike Timlin, have had extensive closing experience. Add to that the fact that Timlin will be starting the year on the DL and moving Papelbon back into the bullpen was the only logical move short of a trade for an established closer.

Tavarez pitched well as the number 5 starter at the end of last season when the rotation was decimated by injuries. If Tavarez shows he can't do the job in the long term there are other options like John Lester (when he's ready), Kyle Snyder, who has pitched well in Spring Training, or even a potential trade. It's just a heck of a lot easier to get a number 4/5 starter in a trade than it is to get an elite closer.

So, I'm excited about having Pap back in the 'pen. Only 10 days until the opener in Kansas City, folks!


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