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Paps to the Pen

March 22, 2007

No it wasn’t a rash decision brought about by uncertainty. I can promise you there were many meetings involving many people that occurred before this took place.

Paps wanted to close because that’s where he felt he helped the team best, but he had no issues or problems being a starter either. He was going to do whatever role they asked of him.

I think the most important aspect, and what will be the most talked about part of this move is his health. One of the important points to note here is just how much smarter, and stronger he is, than he was last year.

Since he was hurt last year, like any smart athlete, he has taken the time to get educated on exactly how his shoulder works, and how best to address it and take care of it. The great part about that is that in my experience it’s always taken a major surgery to get young pitchers with unhealthy shoulders to see the light, and that’s not the case here.

That to me is the most important aspect or the major turning point in any young players career. When you get hurt that first time, and you get educated about your arm, things change dramatically if you are someone that has an inner desire to be great, which he does. You get an education that not only allows you to get healthy, but get stronger.

 The other important thing to note is that he’s got a year plus in the big leagues now. After what happened last year, and after talking to some veteran players along the way, he knows that it’s not now, nor will it ever be, a bad thing to tell the manager that you don’t feel ‘right’ that night. Your value comes in being available all year, which for that to happen means you have to be smart about your body.

We’ve got a phenomenal training and medical staff that has put every possible measure in place to keep our arms as healthy and fresh as possible, and because of that I think we’re better today than we were yesterday as a staff, and as a team. 

The other major impact this will have is allowing everyone down in the pen to fall into their ‘slot’ and be used in roles they’ve all had success in.

This wasn’t done because we have ‘too much starting pitching’, or because anyone was panicked about who would do what in the pen, it was done because John has worked his ass off to be where he needs to be, to close in the big leagues again. His shoulder feels great, which is priority number one, and him closing for us makes this staff look entirely different for the long haul. Whoever ends up in the 5th spot will be just fine. Julian can do it, Kyle can certainly do it and Johnny is not far from being ready to do it, so there are many options, even though you hope you don’t have to exhaust them all to find the right fit (which I don’t think will be the case).

 P.S. Just an FYI, the story wasn’t “Broke” here, whether you heard it here first or not, it was broken by ESPN. “Breaking news” is not a goal here, hell there isn’t any goal here other than to talk baseball, 38 Studios and do some cool stuff for the Charities that are linked as well as legitimate charities that bloggers who post here are involved in. So put away the conspiracy theories, as fun as they may be.

185 Comments leave one →
  1. redsauce permalink
    March 22, 2007 1:49 pm

    Where ever he is, I’m hoping he’ll do great. I think it’ll be hard for him to duplicate the season he had last year, but if he’s remotely near it it’ll still be a great season. This does really help the bullpen situation, regardless of what it does for our starting. Good luck Papelbon! (unless, of course, ‘Paps’ is your nickname for Papi)

  2. dirtdog permalink
    March 22, 2007 1:56 pm

    I just don’t like the idea of a young horse pitching 80 innings, maybe 30 of them critical… instead of eating over 200 and competiting for a Cy Young.

  3. petesuncle permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:01 pm

    Curt,
    Thankyou so much for your support and encouragement to my nephew, Peter. I just returned from a visit with Pete and his family this week and can tell you that you are making a significant positive impact in the little man’s life (and our whole family).

    You can be assured that you will have many Cardinal fans watching you this year – 4 Pete’s Sake.

    Blessings on you and your family (and the dogs)

  4. jeff124 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:03 pm

    Curt,

    This is not at all related to anything so I’m not sure I’m putting it in the right place, so…..

    The day after Randy Johnson hit the dove in the spring training game you were warming up in the bullpen at TEP for your start. Between pitches you glanced up at me/us and I took the opportunity to smart-alec, “You will have to hit a humming bird to beat that dove thing.” or something close to that.

    I couldn’t read your reaction, whether you thought it was funny, ignorant, etc. As I took my seat for the game it occurred to me that perhaps I had crossed a line.

    Is your warmup in the bullpen ever affected by dumb-ass fans like myself?

  5. GremEQ permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:03 pm

    I can say that I am dissappointed with this move. I was looking forward to Pap in the rotation, and think he could be a consistant 17 – 20 game winner.

    I know he will do good again the bullpen, but I think it is easier to find a closer than to find a top of the rotation pitcher.

    Quite honestly, he is one of four top of the rotation pitchers the Red Sox have.

    Oh well. Hopefully he doesn’t break down again, like he did in August last year.

  6. fpraven4 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:05 pm

    Curt,

    obviously the Red Sox have to have some other moves in mind by moving Pap back to the pen. Julian Tavarez is not going to be the long term answer so does this possibly pave the way for Clemens to come back to Boston? Is it time to start selling ice cream?

    Jeremy

  7. soxfangermany permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:06 pm

    That are great news and i read it first on your blog curt. If all the starters are healthy through the season and the bullpen stand up,everything is possible. Now the last hole is closed with pap closing again, i have a good feeling about this season.
    And by the way: Great blog!

  8. tymmyramone permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:07 pm

    I admit I got psyched at the prospect of seeing what he could do for 200+ innings, I kindof had the feeling this would happen all along. I just figured it’d be closer to October or coinciding with the return of Lester….or a Clemens signing.

    When a guy is that good in that role and he’s physically able to do it, they’d be silly not to roll the dice with the guy who did so well at it. No disrespect to the other options, of course.

  9. March 22, 2007 2:08 pm

    Good to hear your insider thoughts on this. I worried for Paps when I heard this news an hour ago. I know he had come out earlier in training saying that he was really happy to be starting and felt that’s where he was helping the most. I also think if Tavarez is moved up to the rotation in the 5th spot, it would really benefit himself and the team. He always looked like he was trying to overdo it when he was pitching in relief. That led to loss of command and tons of hits off of him last year. The few times he went into long relief (there was a long extra innings game mid-season that really sticks out in my mind), he did a _lot_ better on the mound and it felt like he was pacing himself better because he knew he had to go 3 innings instead of 3 outs. I had a lot more confidence in his performance when he knew he was going to be needed for more than 15-20 pitches.

    But if you’re saying that Papelbon is happy with this development, then as a fan, I feel a lot better about the team too. It’d be nice to see the baseball ops guys support Papelbon with this decision by working hard to find a permanent closer worth their mettle before the deadline. Bring in a proven closer and move Papelbon up to starter and I think he’ll be happy to contribute how he thought he would 3 weeks ago when he was all fired up and focused on starting and the team will be even better than it looks now with him back in the closer role to start the season.

  10. sholdsie35 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:09 pm

    Curt,

    Do you as one of the starters have any input in this decision? Does the coaching staff and general manager ask your opinion on decisions like this?

    Thanks

  11. bopes permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:12 pm

    I think all of us agree that the team is stronger with JONATHAN in the ‘pen, but I think there are a couple things to consider. First, I was excited to see him start and mix in a different array of pitches, but that’s because I did not think that finding a slam-dunk closer was that important. Name the guys who are at the back end of the bullpen and are slam-dunks, you can count them on one hand. Todd Jones had over 30 saves last year, you’re telling me we couldn’t find someone to do that while we at least see how dominant Papelbon could have been in the rotation? I know that in the regular season, maybe having that go-to-guy isn’t a necessity, but come playoff-time, look at the teams who made it last year and they all have one, so I could be wrong. The other thing about Detroit is that bullpen was lights-out all year outside of Jones. So basically I’m contradicting myself in this paragraph, but I think these are all important things to consider given the decision.

    The other question is, does this mean the Sox were blowing smoke about being on a daily routine for his shoulder to maintain long-term health? Even if Papelbon learned about how to strengthen his shoulder regardless of a specified role, will he be as effective a closer as he was last year if say, he can’t go three consecutive days like some closers need to? So the question is not, would you rather have a dominant, one-of-a-kind closer over a starter who could win 16-18 games, because we would all prefer a Rivera-esque closer. But if he cannot do what he did last year to be that guy, do you now value a potential 16, 17, 18 game winner more than a closer who can’t go on 2, 3 consecutive days? I’m sure they have considered this and created some valuation process for that, but I’m curious.

  12. soxtall12 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:12 pm

    Curt,

    You are straight with us so I want to be straight with you. This whole Pap to the closer thing, it seems like a lot of ‘spin’ to me. This is the first blog I felt like you were defending a corporation policies, rather than being straight up with us. I know that you can anticipate the feedback and backlash that will follow this decision. My question is, why do the Sox would put of the information about his health in the first place? Why not leave the possibility open, take the Bill Belicheck model…if they can play, they can play…”it is what it is”

    It just comes off very disingenuous when the organization changes its mind after insisting for months that starting would best for Paps health.

    Regardless, I think this is smart move. (and I love your blog)

  13. sroll permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:14 pm

    Mr. Schilling:

    Thanks for the insight, but please stop patronizing your readers. We all know that Papelbon was returned to the closer role because none of the other candidates demonstrated they could do the job. Thankfully, we have more options at the end of the rotation.

    Finally, how long does it take you to craft the paragraphs in your blog? I’m a bit nervous that it takes you hours thereby reducing your work-out time. Please assure me that your writing habit does not detract from your training schedule.

    Thank You.

  14. miked714 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:16 pm

    Hey Curt,
    Great insight, as always. Is this move more motivated by the lack of success by the closer candidates or by the success of Kyle Snyder (who we would lose on waivers if sent to Pawtucket) and Jon Lester in Spring Training? Either way, AWESOME to have a quality closer again this season!

  15. hedgehogbiff permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:16 pm

    WOOT! Thanks for breaking the news.

  16. March 22, 2007 2:16 pm

    I don’t know how much input you have on this, but please ask the powers that be to get him back in the rotation. I don’t know about everyone else but I’d rather see 6-8 good innings every 5 games than 1 great inning every few games. If it’s better for his arm to be a closer then my view might change. But I don’t think it is (except maybe because he’ll throw fewer breaking balls).

  17. nychoke permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:17 pm

    Hey Curt –

    You’ve obviously improved the pen with one of the top closers in the game, but you’ve also weakened your rotation. No disrespect to Pap’s replacement, but he won’t be at the same (perceived) level. Are you a better team with this move?

  18. unkelaaron permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:19 pm

    I think it’s in the best interest of “The Team” to have that closing spot solidified by a pitcher with the makeup of Papplebon. Even though I understand that you probably feel good about your bullpen, and have trust in all of the pitchers, what kind of affect does having somebody like Papplebon at the end of the game have mentally on a starting pitcher?
    Great blog Curt, thanks for the unfiltered insight, Here’s hoping that you finish your career with the BOSOX!

  19. March 22, 2007 2:20 pm

    Hmmm, so Paps is the closer now. Very interesting. I have been waiting to see how this closer situation was going to play out. To be honest I was looking forward to seeing Jon in the starting rotation this year, but that is cool that he is about doing what is best for the team. And it is good that we now have a nails closer in Pap so you can’t complain about that.

    Also funny that I got the news here first :)

    I wonder, hypothetically, should the Sox acquire a closer at some point this season, is is possible to move Pap back to the starting rotation, or is that kind of change too jarring for his arm to adjust to?

  20. rpalmer63 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:21 pm

    Good to know. Lets hope he doesn’t overwork his arm. With his experience he will know his limits better and with the medical attention he gets he is less likely to re-injure it (lets pray). I was looking forward to seeing his start, but I have no problem with him going back to the closer’s role. If you guys are gonna be looking to go deep into the playoffs, then you are going to need to have someone you can rely to finish games.

    So who is going to start now? I personally like Lester to fill the role. He has some accuracy problems, but he’s still so young. If not Lester, then are the Sox going to look to acquire another starter? Julian showed he was pretty capable at the end of last year. But I like Jon Lieber, who was delegated to the pen by the Phillies and was in trade rumors for awhile. It’s unfortunate for him because his home field is a terrible pitcher’s park. Other than the dingers he gives up he is an underrated pitcher. He gets a lot of ground balls, which would be a good fit for the solid infield you guys have. He also has great command of the strike zone (very good K to BB ratio, 4.17, but certainly not yours). He doesn’t want to be a reliever, so I’m sure he would be more than glad to start for a winning team like the Sox.

    One question: Why do so many players give autographs and are much more amiable with the fans during spring training and not so much in the regular season. There’s the obvious reason: it’s spring and maybe a more loose. But during the regular season do the players have routines that they follow and don’t want to break them? Just wondering.

  21. mcq0823 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:22 pm

    I think this is a mistake. It is better for the club to get 200 innings out of a guy like Paps then have him pitch only 70 innings

    The kid has a chance to be a top level starter and it makes no sense for him to be a closer. If Nathan got injured, would the Twins put Santana? Would the Cardinals move Carpenter to the pen?

    It makes no sense.

    Unless…………..Clemens is coming back to the rotation. If Clemens comes back, well then, great move. As good as Lester, Snyder and Julian can be, they don’t posses the stuff and potential of Papelbon. The end of the game is important, however unless their is some master plan we are aren’t aware, this just doesn’t make any sense.

    I am not a fan of this move

  22. jasvlm permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:22 pm

    This is actually probably welcome news for the team, as the distraction of the constant “Who will close” questions tend to be a downer. That said, I feel like the value of a starter, in terms of sheer innings pitched, will outweigh the value of a closer, but that is only my opinion.
    Here is my question: Since the 5th slot in the rotation tends to get skipped some early in the season, it is reasonable to imagine that the Sox are grooming that 5th slot for Lester once he gets healthy enough to take it, filling in with Snyder, Tavarez and perhaps even Pineiro? I know Pineiro hasn’t been groomed to throw starter’s innings this spring, but perhaps he could be an option there as well in mid-April. I’m just speculating, and I appreciate your insight as to the decision making process the club goes through.
    Here is one follow up question: How does the rest of the team react to this decision? Much was made of Papelbon’s health driving his return to the rotation, making it less risky for his shoulder. Do the players look at this as if the organization is making a decision that might not be in the best interests of the player’s health long term, just to fill a short term need? I am not trying to create a controversey, or fuel a fire with that question, I am just looking for the feel you have about that situation. No disrespect to Theo or any of the braintrust implied there. As someone with a medical background, I’m not convinced that starting is easier than closing (from a stress on the joint standpoint), or that any study has been shown that illustrates such a fact. The element of a routine is certainly salient, but it comes down to the strength and the stability of the joint, and those factors will be challenged more by fatigue and muscle overuse than any other single factor-whether it be as a starter or closer.
    Thanks again, Mr. Schilling, for the great access to your thoughts and the inner workings of our favorite club. It is truly a wonderful blog.
    JAS

  23. mcq0823 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:23 pm

    The sox can’t be sure Clemens will come back. I think everyone here will agree if Clemens was coming back,move Papelbon back for 1 more yr. Have a rotation of Clemens, Schill, Beckett, Dice-K and Wake…….

  24. ridetheseal permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:24 pm

    Thanks for the insight, Curt. Although I was very curious to see Paps in the rotation to see what he could do, this is the biggest need on an otherwise championship caliber team. If he’s healthy and wants to do it, I think this is where Paps can add the most value.

    And perhaps this opens the door for The Rocket at some point?

  25. fenwaynationchief permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:25 pm

    Curt-

    Does the move of Paps to the ‘pen make a Clemens acquisition for the 5th starter (in May or June) more likely?

    -FenwayNationChief

  26. rknowlesjr permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:25 pm

    Thats great news for all Sox fans. With Curt, Josh and Dice K all possible 20+ game winners, toss in 15 from Wake and a dozen or zone from the #5 spot (whomever he is). The Yankees and Blue Jays should be shaking in their boots.

  27. bosoxn1 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:26 pm

    Hey banty19, sorry but those 6-8 inning are gonna go to waste if you don’t have anyone to close those games. We still have several candidates for that fifth spot, including Gabbard, Snyder and Lester. I would put Gabbard in there until Lester is ready and keep Snyder in the bullpen for long relief and spot starter, besides he doesn’t have more options.
    Paps in the closer spot is big sign of relief, I personally love it!

  28. scambodian permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:27 pm

    Curt,

    Just here to set the record straight.
    First off i am not fascinated with you trust me on that. I was reading an article on you or the pitching staff on WEEI.com and it refernced your blog so i came on to take a look, and the overwhelming nuthugging that was going on was completley ridiculous, and almost made me a little sick.

    The truth is i actually have a ton of respect for you as a ball player i think your nasty. I’m not gunna lie i disagree with some of your stances on a personal level but that is neither here nor there. I was just being over the top ridiculous with my views and posts to just try to play devils advocate to what was going on in this site. You can say a lot of my posts were wortless (which they were), but so are half the nuthugging posts that claim you were the first man to walk on the moon, and making you out to be the son of Zues. Was i trolling? absolutley, but hey whatever.

    Now for my first serious piece of information.

    I think pap is going to be one hell of a starting pitcher the kids a stud no doubt, but he also proved that he can be an all world closer. You have a problem this year, too much starting pitching (which never really is a problem) and no closer. Like you said the guys in the pen could get the job done, but no where near as effective as Pap could be. One more year for Pap as a closer then back to the rotation. My baseball career ended in college so im not gunna pretend like im a genius but it does seem like the logical thing to do.

    Thanks and GOD BLESS SCHILL

    Yours truley The SCAMBODIAN

    i made an apology, but i am still at war with you Deane.

  29. pops821 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:28 pm

    I don’t share the sentiment that this is a panic move by the Red Sox that’s reacting to the absence of one guy asserting himself as closer-material. The Red Sox don’t do ANYTHING without asking Bill James about it first. But no, in all seriousness, this front office and coaching staff analyzes and deeply evaluates every move they make as much as, and probably more than, every other team in the league.

    Really, I look at this news and say to myself “This makes too much sense…something must be wrong” (maybe I still retain my fatalistic instinct as a Sox fan despite 2004). Papelbon was historic last year in the closer role; Papelbon is healthier as a pitcher than he’s ever been, including last year; Kyle Snyder is healthy for the first time EVER and has had a real good spring; Jon Lester is coming back stronger than anyone could have reasonably expected and it’s probably safe to assume he’ll be ready if someone in the rotation does go down at some point (God forbid).

    Yeah, this move could weaken what so many talking heads declared as the best rotation in baseball, but since when has the preseason consensus view EVER been right about ANYTHING? Fact is, this is a stronger team with Papelbon closing than with anyone else closing…not for anyone else’s lack of talent but almost the opposite: the closer candidates have been very good, or have excelled, in middle relief roles in the past, but cannot claim the same success in the closer role. This move makes sense.

  30. ike6116 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:28 pm

    Personally, I love this move. Papelbon was as we all know amazing as a closer last year and as much talent as he has and as effective as he could be as a starter (which I dont question he could be any team’s ace) there is something just great about having that kind of weapon to close out games. Teams just HAVE to get demoralized when they go into the 9th trailing with Paps in the pen.

    I just hope Josh can turn it on this year. I won’t presume to have much baseball knowledge but from watching last year it seemed like Josh didn’t realize he was in the AL east and that challenging arguably the best hitters in baseball down the middle with heat might not be the best strategy, especially once they’ve seen you a couple times. I hope that since you like him so much and vice versa that you might have been able to impart some veteran wisdom and he does more pitching and less throwing this season. I could be wrong here but to your average sox junkie glued to NESN throughout the summer that’s what it looked like to me.

  31. rick27 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:29 pm

    I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not too happy about this, Curt. If I recall correctly, when Paps was named the team’s closer last year you said on WEEI that you’d rather have him start and get 200 inning out of him. Maybe you said that before you saw him dominate as a closer, but why the change of heart? It seems to me that Sox management said, “It’s best for his arm for him to start.” Now they say, “Forget about what we said earlier; it is no extra risk on his arm. He is going to close again.” Obviously, John has the stuff and the makeup to close or start. I care very little about which role he’s in. I just want him healthy two or three years from now, still in his prime, and wearing a Sox uniform.

  32. weeba permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:29 pm

    Thanks for confirming the news. Gotta love news reporting nowadays. Why wait for ESPN or Boston.com when you can get a player confirming it before it officially happens?

  33. March 22, 2007 2:31 pm

    //Oh well. Hopefully he doesn’t break down again, like he did in August last year.//

    If I’m not mistaken, Papelbon got hurt in the September 1st game.

    And for those of you snapping at Curt for ‘defending’ this move, step off. Regardless of why the decision was made, for the needs of the team, Curt obviously thinks this is the right way to go.

    You can’t honestly think he’d go against himself, on his own blog, to ‘suck up’ to management.

  34. bosox47 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:31 pm

    Who is going to be the fifth starter

    lester?
    pinero?
    tavarez?

  35. brendinater permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:32 pm

    I would love to be sycophantic and say I completely agree with you but unfortunately I cannot. From a selfish standpoint, it is great to see him back there in the closer role. However, I cannot get past the fact that the whole reason for his move to the rotation in the first place was on doctors’ orders. Maybe something has changed in this regard. I also have my doubts about the ability of the management to maintain, all year long, the “we don’t want to overuse him” approach. Fans have short memories, and it will not be long before people are baying for blood when Paps isn’t used in a save situation and someone else comes in and blows it. The pressure will be there to use him a lot, purely because he is so good.

    That said, I really hope I am proved wrong. The bottom line is that there’s a young pitcher who has the potential for a great and long career, and I sincerely hope that is not jeopardized by this move.

  36. reluctantyankee permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:33 pm

    As someone who has done both, is there more strain placed on the shoulder in a closing role (pitching fewer innings more often), or in a starting role (pitching more innings less often)?

  37. acefox1 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:33 pm

    I don’t know what to think really, except to say that you are in the club-house and we’re out here. If Paps says he’s happy being the closer and it’s the best thing for the team right now then I’m fine with it.

    My personal hope was to see him continue showing the brilliance he showed as a starter at the end of the 2005 Season and be developed as a top-of-the-rotation stud for the sad day when you do decide to hang em up.

    I don’t think that you are trying to spin this news for the fans though and I completely believe your take on the situation. And I agree that this decision will help everyone settle into roles where they are most comfortable.

    I think Tavarez surprised a lot of us as a spot-starter last year. It seems like the more innings he knows he’s going to pitch, the more effective he is. Kyle Snyder would be great oo from what we’ve seen so far. it would be a shame to lose him to another team just because he’s out of minor-league options. Does this decision change anything regarding a 25 man roster spot for Kyle?

    Thanks for being a straight-shooter Curt and giving us the straight-dope. I know you’ll probably have a lot of flack thrown at you for selling the Front Office party-line to the fans but I’m not one of those people.

    Thanks again and keep the good stuff coming!

    Deane

  38. mondattingly permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:34 pm

    Speaking of the pen, I was curious the other day when you were talking about power fastball pitchers having difficulty with their changeups. What do you think of Mo Rivera starting to throw his changeup a bit more this Spring? I know you’re not here to talk about the opposition, but from a Pitcher to Pitcher standpoint, does it intrigue you?

  39. niskayuna permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:37 pm

    Curt, I don’t understand why you think it’s appropriate to blog about this before the team has made an official announcement??

  40. johngilligan permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:39 pm

    Curt,
    I think this is great news. Personally, I was a bit concerned with Jon in the rotation. I just don’t think he has the tools to face batters 2 or 3 times during the course of a game and keep them guessing.

    We have to hope that Jonathan has built up his arm/shoulder strength and that that he will keep an open dialog with the Sox staff about how he is feeling.

    I really hope John Lester’s progress continues as I feel he will be an asset to the team later on this season.

    Thanks Curt!

  41. maranara permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:39 pm

    I am thrilled with the news. Paps seems like a great kid (I had the opportunity to talk with him in Sept. ’05 when he was a call-up, and I was so impressed), and he really shined as the Sox closer last year. He seems to have the intensity and mindset to close, and it’s really good to know that at least one member of the starting staff is supportive of the decision to move him back to that role. It also makes me hopeful that Lester is closer to being at full-strength then we all think. I’m sure that my hope that he is back and pitching this year is only a fraction of what you guys (his teammates and those who actually know him) feel.

  42. March 22, 2007 2:40 pm

    Cool beans!

    Now could you please use your superhero powers to speed up time so tomorrow can be April 2 and we can just get this season started already?!

  43. tr0mbley permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:46 pm

    I certainly don’t mind having Papelbon as the closer. There’s nothing more comforting than having a lead in the 8th and seeing a Rivera-type closer warming up. But I think most fans were excited to see what Paps was capable of as a starter. I was REALLY looking forward to Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Papelbon, Wakefield. If that rotation pitches in the NL, I bet you’re looking at 75+ wins from them alone.

    So what’s next? Is Tavarez the guy in the 5th spot? Or is Lester the next in line. I liked the way Lester battled last year. A bright spot of Papelbon heading to the pen is that Lester now has a chance to enter the rotation again.

  44. behrle permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:47 pm

    Hey, Curt–

    It’s cool that Pap is so flexible about this: and I think he brings a lot to the table. As long a Tito doesn’t overuse him (I remember him saying he’s young, he can bounce back, he can go two innings here and there). SOMEONE ELSE ALSO HAS TO STEP UP AND GET OUTS. This mean you Craig H. and Manny D.. Young talent is only worth something if it matures. And Pap threw his arm to rag last year cleaning up other pitcher’s messes.

    –jimmy

  45. largermass permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:51 pm

    Are you getting the green light from the FO and coaching staff before you make their internal decisions public information here in your blog and before they release a statement? I certainly hope so.

  46. nxouris38 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:52 pm

    Hey Curt, If you get a chance, I’d be interested to hear your take, as a professional player, on the new school line of thinking in regards to the value of a 200 IP starter vs. a 75 IP closer.

  47. keysersose permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:54 pm

    Curt,

    I truly find myself torn by this information… on one hand, I believe in the whole “never look a gift horse in the mouth”, and hands down Paps as a closer was OUTstanding… and as Bill Simmons argued, he has the potential to be one of the best closers in baseball for sometime to come, so how do you put him in the rotation… conversly, he’s constantly reminded me a lot of yourself when he pitches, just maybe not the best curveball, or the hardest fastball, but damn it, if he just has “it”, like you, and could be such a dominant force in the rotation… either way, just made the season a whole lot more interesting….

    thanks

    D

  48. baseballticket permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:55 pm

    I don’t get it. I understand what you’re saying about the eduction of his medical condition and everything, but they spent a great deal of time and energy last fall educating us that he should never ever be a closer again. I hope this is the right move. He’ll be great as a closer and now we have a great pitching staff… but it’s going to take a long time for me to un-learn what they taught me last fall. I just don’t know who to trust now.

  49. smackdown924 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:55 pm

    You guys are missing it. Yes, it would be nice to have another 200 innings power pitcher, but a good team NEEDS a closer. The guy in the bullpen who can shut the door is an absolute necessity. I feel much more comfortable with Papelbon there than anyone else. The kid has the mental and physical makeup to be a closer. That is a rare thing. Now all we have to do is have Tavarez start a few times, maybe Snyder. Once Lester is ready to go, he can be a very decent 5th starter. A closer who throws 80 innings but has a 1.7 ERA and 35-40 saves, and saves critical games is just as important as a starter who can go 6-7 innings every 5th day with an ERA in 3.8-4.5 range. You must understand that.

    I agree with Curt, the main thing here is health. If he’s healthy, he’s strong, and he’s on board with closing, I say we pull the trigger. If there’s any reservations about any of those things, then play it safe. I think we just made our team better.

  50. ham228737 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:55 pm

    Most people don’t realize that the injury Jon Papelbon has is something he will always be concerned with. The tendons in the shoulder are stretched to the point that his shoulder subluxates or pops out of the shoulder joint. To keep this from happening he has two choices. Do physical therapy daily to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder to keep the shoulder stong and hopefully from coming out of it’s socket or have an operation to shorten the the tendons and keep the shoulder from coming out of the socket.

    That being said I think his best move would be to the bull pen instead of trying to start and throw 200 plus innings at this point in his career.

  51. tpetey permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:56 pm

    I’m hoping this is just a one year postponement to Paps’ permanent move to the rotation. If Bryce Cox and his “nastiest slider on Earth” don’t fall off the planet in Portland this year and if Craig Hansen rediscovers the nastiness in his own slider, we’ll have more closers than we can use (this is a good thing).

    I understand the stated rationale, but it smells to me like a panic move. Paps will be … what? three-fourths of a closer? No more 3-in-a-row appearances and no more two inning saves. Lots of save opportunities will wind up in the hands of the “unchosen”, so I hope management’s firm vote of “no-confidence” in them doesn’t come back to bite them. I seriously can’t see how the team is more than marginally better off with Paps at the back of the bullpen.

    Best wishes to Kason Gabbard and/or Kyle Snyder. I hope they take the opportunity and run with it, because a huge hole has just opened up at the end of the rotation. I was worried that Theo would make a panic trade, and it appears he has: he’s traded a potentially dominant starter for a dominant (albeit part-time) closer — and potentially increased his risk of injury in the bargain.

    Go Sox!

  52. jayp849 permalink
    March 22, 2007 2:56 pm

    While I would normally agree that it is better to get 200 innings out of a pitcher than to get 70-80 innings out of him, this is not a normal situation. We have to remember that Papelbon threw out a .92 ERA last year, think about that for a second, less than 1 run per nine. Think about the fact that this team has a payroll in the $150-160 million range and a legitimate chance to win a world championship. This is also a team that has three aces essentially with Curt, Beckett (who I think is going to have a huge year) and Dice-K, as well as a solid veteran in Tim Wakefield who posts double digit victories every year. They HAVE to have someone be able to close out those tight games and in my opinion there is no better option than Jonathan Papelbon to close games for the Boston Red Sox. Think back to ’03 for a minute, remember Chad Fox, Bobby Howry, Alan Embree etc. trying to close games. Think about how many games Pedro would’ve won that year had they had a solid closer, not even a great closer, a solid one. In Papelbon, you have a GREAT closer. Now think about ’04, how did everyone feel when the bullpen door opened and Keith Foulke stepped out, game over. How about last year? Paps comes in, game OVER!! Thats a great feeling for us, imagine how Curt, Josh, and Dice-K will feel when they come out of a game with a lead and know that they can turn that lead over to Jonathan Papelbon. Great move by the Sox, they should be commended.

  53. 0chris0 permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:00 pm

    Curt,

    Thank you for everything you have done on the field, I appreciate it as a life long fan. That said…

    I can’t help but cringe every time you get behind a keyboard or a microphone. I understand you are an outspoken person, but above all else you are a professional athlete, NOT a “blogger” trying to be the first to break the latest information. If a fan, somehow, got his hands on this info and posted it on the internet…that would be one thing. But you are not only a professional athlete, you are also an employee of the Boston Red Sox. Don’t you think it would have been a tad more professional to wait until the team held their traditional press conference announcing this move? I can’t imagine myself being privy to some information at my workplace and running to the internet to post about it before my company had a chance to make said information public. I know that other news outlets have already reported this move, but they are not employed by the Red Sox. I just think that when it comes to “inside info” on YOUR team, you should maybe wait until the team has the opportunity to go public through their normal channels. Unless I am completely mistaken and the Red Sox appointed you the new publicist and they expect you to bring this news to the fans.

    I mean no disrespect to you, I just feel that baseball players should play baseball. You make yourself accessible to the fans like no other player in the game, but that can be as much as a curse as it is a blessing.

    As far as the “news” goes, I keep thinking the same thing to myself; how dominate would the Yankees have been throughout the 90s if it wasn’t for Rivera? As much as I would love to see what Jon can do as a starter, I think having a dominate closer is more important in the overall scheme of things.

    Thank you.

  54. elviselvisberg permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:01 pm

    First off, Curt, this blog is the best. Thanks for reaching out to the fans like this.

    This move makes the Sox a better team. All of a sudden there’s an all-star caliber closer and a solid surrounding cast in the ‘pen, and 3 potential aces, a franchise legend, and a lot of very good options for the 5th slot.

    He has to be cautious about that shoulder, though, and the Sox have to do whatever it takes to keep him healthy.

  55. sebagobill permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:01 pm

    Paps is BETTER than Dick Raditz was — that kind of closer is way more important than “another” starter. Paps can/will be a GREAT starter someday but this is the best thing for the team right now. Paps is a team player of the same caliber as Troy Brown. I’m a very long time Sox fan and I don’t remember starting a season as excited as I am this year about the possibilities for 2007.

  56. ryebrook1 permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:02 pm

    This is the absolute right move. Bottom line is the Sox have 4 solid starters and Lester will be back soon. If not, Snyder or Tavarez are very serviceable. They haven’t found a guy that can close and the market for middle relievers is sky high. Oh, and by the way, Papelbon was one of the best closers in baseball last year. You just don’t replace that so easily.

    Steve Phillips made a number of very sensible comments on yesterday’s ESPN telecast backing this move. If the fifth starter is 8-12, a team with Schilling, Beckett, Matuszaka and Wakefield should be able to absorb that. But if the Big 4 starters keep going 7 and having the bullpen blow the game, the team could lose a lot more than the 12 or so games a mediocre 5th starter is likely to lose for them.

    Those that wanted to see Papelbon go 17-10 should realize that this assumes somebody can close out his victories. Sox don’t have that guy right now, except for Paps.

    Remember, Matuszaka’s pitch count may need to be controlled this year since he’s not used to pitching every 5th day. The worst thing that could happen to his confidence is to pitch 6 shutout innings and then have the Sox lose the game because the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.

    As a closer, Paps could be a key figure in 45 wins. That’s not happening if he starts.

    Kudos to Theo for making the move while it’s still Spring Training instead of being proven wrong by May 15.

  57. thefliz permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:03 pm

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME, CURT???

    Can you really not help yourself and have to “break the story” this on your blog before the team does? I’m sure the organization appreciates you trumping their official announcement.

    Why don’t you stop being such a shameless self promoter and focus the job you’ve failed at since 2005 — actually pitching you your potential.

  58. soxpatsbruinsceltics permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:10 pm

    Hi curt .do you think maybe you should waited for the front office to anounce the papelbon move before you blogged on the subject ?

  59. menuhub permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:11 pm

    This is the best news yet! PAP belongs in the Pen. The only other thing I hope Manny will sell his GRILL. http://www.menuhub.com

  60. bcpaul permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:14 pm

    Hi Curt,

    Red Sox Nation is all giddy today with the news that Paps will be moved to the bullpen to soldify the closer spot. What do you think of this move? Are the Sox better off with Paps closing instead of starting? Do you forsee the Sox filling the 5th starter spot from within the organziation or is there any possibility that the Rocket Man will launch back to Boston and make this year’s rotation even that more impressive. Getty up!

  61. ralphkramden permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:15 pm

    This should be good news for the Sox. There’s lots of good 5th starter possibilities.

    That said – why the heck are we getting this news smuggled out of the clubhouse, instead of hearing it from Francona or Theo? As much as the media hate it, I’m in favor of the Belichek model when it comes to personnel news – all funneled through one source; very disciplined. Red Sox nation is voracious for news, but it shouldn’t fall to the staff ace to be the disseminator of information.

    My $0.02. Probably not worth that much.

  62. mannybeingmanny permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:15 pm

    i love papelbon in the closer role, i was freaking out this whole spring, wondering what they were going to decide I.E pineiro, timlin ect

    But on the other hand leaving pap as a starter and sending wily mo delcarmen and maybe hansen to washington for cordero sounds a bit better, as i dont think those three are going to blossom into anything special. but we shall see!

  63. mcusack permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:16 pm

    I had to laugh at the comment with the photo of Pap in SI.COM Scorecard daily. It says: Jonathan Papelbon is still on the trading block since the Red Sox have not settled on a closer. I dun thin so.

  64. shiamunchi permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:18 pm

    Curt:

    We are confused and perhaps you can help clear this up. With Paps as a starter, one of our best pitchers would pitch double (or more) innings than if he were a closer. Runs scored by an opponent in ANY inning can beat you – it really doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the ninth. Therefore, the starting role seems to be the better choice.

    I can see two counter-arguments, one psychological and one statistical.

    The psychological argument is that losing the game at the end, rather than the beginning, is tougher on everyone. I don’t believe that Theo and co., Moneyball types that they are, made the decision based only on this.

    The statistical argument is that the closer’s innings are more important because he is brought in only when the game ‘is on the line.’ But, on the other hand, closers are sometimes brought out early if a game has become a blow-out (in either direction), and that increases the importance of a starters’ innings, too. But I assume that some sort of statistical analysis of this type argues for Paps as the closer.

    Am I on the right track?

    Thanks for the wonderful Blog!

  65. conig25 permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:23 pm

    Wow never thought that this would happen. But it’s really exciting. Love to see Julian step into that 5 spot and really get to use ‘all’ his pitches as a starter. He is so much more effective that way. In the bullpen he was just a two pitch pitcher then as a starter he opened up and really did a good job.

    Snyder has been very good and should go to the bullpen yielding to Julians experience.

  66. petrole permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:24 pm

    Curt,
    Game 7, 2001 World Series, Alfonso Soriano hit a home run off what looked to be a pretty good splitter. In your mind was it a bad pitch, or did Alfonso just go down and get it?

  67. diamonddave13 permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:26 pm

    Enough ballwashing in here? Geez…so thanks for your take on Paps. It was…um…obvious? I havent a clue why Im even reading your blog other than my twisted fascination with your twisted fascination with hearing yourself talk or reading your own words. Im a Sox fan and Im a fan of your pitching, but everything else I could do without. If you have a problem with the media (which is something you feel the need to repeat every time you’re on with D&C) then why even talk to them. Manny is the only one that seems to realize that nothing good can come from speaking with the media. Just pitch dude. That’s it.

  68. iamdoolittle permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:27 pm

    Like most people, I’m excited about Pap’s return to the closer role. I have seen too many instances of a starter having the chance to win a game blown because of a bullpen screw up. Having Papelbon as the anchor of the bullpen makes me more confident that we can capitalize on the strength of this years starting rotation. On another note, I’m very excited to see what Julian Tavarez can do as a starter this year. I feel that he was misused in the bullpen last year. He didn’t seem comfortable coming into situations with inherited runners, and once he made a mistake in those situations, his control seemed to falter and he’d walk a lot of batters. However, when he is expected to pitch several innings, he seems to maintain his composure much better and better use his stuff. For example, he pitched several effective innings against Chicago during the very long extra innings game last year and even pitched a complete game against Toronto after our playoff hopes were extinguished. I look forward to seeing what he can do as a fifth starter.

  69. ih8nyy permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:31 pm

    Great move, I just hope it doesn’t change the expected rotation of Dice-K in the # 3 slot. I have tickets to the 2nd home game and that will be disappointing if I don’t see his first game at Fenway.

    But it is a great move. The kid was lights out last season and he competes as well as anyone out there.

  70. mfaj5 permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:31 pm

    Schill-

    I love that you are now in a position to break news. That is just awesome.

    I’m watching/reading from the West Coast, so I am curious to know how much it is pissing off EEI and the papers that you are essentially leaving them in the dust?

    I appluad your efforts. Keep us informed!

  71. rdsxnation67 permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:35 pm

    I am glad it did not take a fiasco during the year to make this happen. Closing takes a special mentality, that Pap showed he had last year. From the looks of spring training, we could have Tavarez, or Snyder, or Lester if he gets stronger to round out the rotation.

  72. jdh2511 permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:40 pm

    So we’re going to trade 200 innings for 80 innings…Having a starter is much more important then having a closer. The closer is probabaly the most overrated player on the field, and I’m sure Pineiro or somebody could have closed until Timlin came back. Papelbon starting puts us in the position to win more games then him closing, and I honestly expected from Theo and Co. Watching Julian Tavarez in the 5th spot is not my idea of a good fix.

  73. dguadalupe permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:44 pm

    hmm. I think this could be good for THIS year, but what about the next few years? can he stay healthy?

  74. 09neurotic permalink
    March 22, 2007 3:54 pm

    While I’m excited that a player would take the time to run a site like this and genuinely interact with his fans, I have to echo the concerns of a few commenters above who are hoping this post had prior approval from the front office. If it did, then fantastic and I’ll consider myself slapped down, but if it didn’t, I would expect that you may be hearing from them.

  75. johnnyfromburgerking1988 permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:00 pm

    Aye it’s Johnny From Burger King checking in here,
    this is the move we all expected in the beginning of the season. Joel Pinero wasn’t going to cut it and all of the other major league teams demanded that we trade our top farm talent. What scares me is that Tavarez is starting, I mean what if this guy runs into second base again and breaks his hand when he tried to tag the baserunner out? With a rotation of schilling, matsuzaka, beckett, wake, and (hopefully) lester, the AL east belongs to us! Let’s just be happy that foulke isn’t closing for us and attacking poor old johnny from burger king.

    -Nice job on the blog

    Johnny From Burger King

  76. idabomb333 permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:01 pm

    Why doesn’t anybody get that using a great pitcher like Papelbon in the starter role makes him more valuable? Starting pitchers get far more innings than closers. Even if we give a higher weight to “important” innings in save situations, the sheer number of innings pitched is just huge. Look at Tavarez vs Papelbon. Who’s better? It’s Papelbon, easily.

    Last season there was the added factor that Pap would have missed time in the conversion process. It made sense early last year to have him in the pen. But now there’s just no excuse. The team does better if the best available starting pitchers are the starting pitchers. I’m sure Santana would be a great closer too, but if the twins needed help in their pen, no one would suggest that.

    Sigh. I thought Theo was smarter than this.

  77. lar1208 permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:04 pm

    Sebagobill…..the kind of closer Papelbon is and the kind of closer Dick R-A-D-A-T-Z was are completely different. Pitching concepts, training, stats have changed so much in 40 years….and although Jonathan Papelbon’s success thus far has certainly kept Red Sox Nation remembering fondly the [not-yet-matched] excitement “THE MONSTER” brought to Fenway when striding toward the mound, he certainly has the stuff to get it done. But remember, saves are recorded different statistically now than they were then and there weren’t such things as pitch counts, etc. I’ll never think he’s better than The Monster was until he, too, can gun down 3 Hall of Famers in 10 pitches.

    Curt, thanks for the insight from the inside and best of luck to Jonathan!! Have a great year in whatever role seems right and hopefully we’ll get another title in ’07!!

  78. scrap1 permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:04 pm

    Excellent news for my fantasy team. Thanks for keeping us all posted. What would we do without you?

  79. gnader permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:04 pm

    Rarely in the history of the sport does a pitcher come along with stamina and the ability to throw in the mid 90’s with pinpoint accuracy – sort of in the mold of a Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling. To designate someone with that type of talent (i.e. Papelbon), at the outset of his career, a closer, makes little sense to me. Sound like desparation!

  80. soxrooter permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:11 pm

    Curt

    I was wondering when you were going to start focusing in on the 2007 season? This blog is a disaster in boston. You are crossing the line of player roles. You are posting messages about what the front office is going to do before Theo has the appropriate time to release information on his time frame. I am a fan of you as a pitcher on the mound every 5th day. I really don’t like you on the other 4 days. This is going to be a distraction to you and to your teammates. You don’t seem to care too much. Seems like you are trying to go out of your way to be a distraction. In all my years watching baseball players in this town I have never come across someone who wants the attention off the field the way you do. It is not a pleasant part of your personality. Now I am hearing that pressure from the clubhouse (nice way of saying players) is behind why papelbon is moving to closer role. I really hope at 40 and with your current weight you can stay healthy because you should know starting pitching is harder to find than relievers. If you aren’t the same pitcher this team is in big trouble. In a perfect world for me you would stop with the attention and focus on how your role has intensified in the last 24 hours. It is worries me that you are not ready for this. Good luck. If it doesn’t work out for you this year I wonder how many of these posts you will make and how many you respond to.

  81. March 22, 2007 4:15 pm

    I’d like to see Kyle Snyder get a chance to start some games down in the Fens, while Jon gets his legs back under him. Based in no small part on what I’ve read here, I think it could be a golden opportunity for a good kid who deserves his shot.

    Bronson Arroyo got his, and ran with it – and I think every Sox fan had a special affection for him, because everyone loves the story of the “kid that finally made it”. I don’t think that Kyle would mind that sort of affection from Red Sox Nation, and I think he could earn it.

    Let him know we’re here pulling for him.

  82. leutbneot permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:16 pm

    Hey Schill.

    I have to say, as a 3rd-gen Yankee fan (and a Democrat to boot), I wasn’t really prepared to enjoy this blog as much as I do. Despite being on the other side of the rivalry, I’ve always respected (and feared!) you as a top-flight pitcher, and it’s totally amazing to see this level of fan interaction on the part of a truly top-tier athelete. The baseball insight that you give in this blog really is unique. I’m fascinated by the art of pitching, and your descriptions are truly invaluable to fans like me.

    If you have a chance, I’d like to know what the whole rivalry feels like from a player’s perspective. I’m not a crazy, obnoxious rivalry supporter (like many fans from both NY and Beantown), but I definitely enjoy the heightened sense of tension that NY-BOS games have. Is it different facing the Yanks than other teams? What’s Yankee Stadium like, relative to Fenway? Are there any Yankees that you really respect or are friends with?

    Thanks again for this blog. You have totally won this Yankee fan over.

  83. recticularpig permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:17 pm

    I think this is great. When he was healthy last year Paps was a lights out closer and that is what this team needs. If you look at the Yankees, Mo is a huge reason they have been so successful over the past decade.

    I can’t remember being this excited about the start of baseball season and I have great hopes for this particular Red Sox team. I was hoping you could answer one of the following questions:

    1. Has Josh Beckett done anything differently since coming to Boston to avoid the blister troubles he had with the Marlins ?

    2. Do you think this blog will change your approach with the media this year ?

    3. Why is closing so much harder on arms than being a starter ? Paps would have thrown way more pitches as a starter than he will as a closer, so what causes the extra arm stress ?

    Your blog has already become a daily must read for me and I look forward to following the season through it. Good luck this season !!

  84. mbings permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:22 pm

    Perhaps they are just making room for Roger. ;)

  85. bloodybob permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:25 pm

    Thank God. The kid proved he could be a lights out closer. I’m sorry, but they don’t come around too often. If it won;t harm his sshoulder, theis was the correct (and necessary decision). I hope that Tavares can continue his string of strong starts from last year. If not, Lester, Gabbard and Snyder have all looked pretty good this Spring…

  86. ralphkramden permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:28 pm

    Just a followup to my previous reply – I was wrong in thinking this blog was the primary source of this news. Apparently ESPN had it before it appeared here.

    I’d still like to see Sox news disseminated with more discipline. But I was mistaken for faulting this blog for breaking this story.

  87. gamermp101 permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:37 pm

    Hey I’m new here, so this is the first post for me. Considering how good Paps served as Bostons closer last year, I think that this is a great move. I do however think that he would be more suited for the rotation, he is young and has been a starter for most of his baseball career, and fittingly he would be great as a starting pitcher in both now and in years to come.

    Personally, I felt that Boston should have went after Chad Cordero. Being a former Expos Fan I watched him pitch in Montreal and was very impressed with his stuff and the potential he had. I’m sure that if he had gone to Boston, they could have worked with him to make him a great closer for them in the years to come.

  88. hayesjoe permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:39 pm

    for a pretty interesting take on the media in Boston, you could do worse than Boston Sports Media Watch.

    thoughts?

  89. keepthefaith permalink
    March 22, 2007 4:43 pm

    Curt,

    Wow. ’07 Sox have amazing stats. Ample talent. The message boards focus on all the individual player angles, but we’ve all seen talented players choke.

    What will make ’07RS a WS caliber TEAM different from ’04?

  90. March 22, 2007 5:11 pm

    //This blog is a disaster in boston//

    Actually quite the opposite. This blog is arguably the most popular blog in town. Practically every Red Sox blogger links to it and all the media outlets seem to be using it for information as well.

    And as far as it being a distraction to the team…seriously, how many of Curt’s teammates do you think log on and run to 38pitches.com to see what Curt has to say?

  91. March 22, 2007 5:13 pm

    //What will make ‘07RS a WS caliber TEAM different from ‘04?//

    I feel like so many forget what a horrible season 2004 was for MOST of that season (prior, of course, to the playoffs).

    Anything can happen. The team has a group of great players who should do well.

    There aren’t ANY guarantees in life OR baseball.

  92. bball21 permalink
    March 22, 2007 5:21 pm

    Curt,

    On the topic of closers, I was watching a Yankee game the other night and saw Mariano Rivera make Ryan Howard look silly with a CHANGEUP. He struck him out on a 2-2 change. Isn’t it pretty unusual for him to come up with a change up this late in his career?

  93. March 22, 2007 5:23 pm

    I hate the term “player hater”– 95% of the time, it’s a way to avoid a substantive response to criticism.

    But reading this thread, there’s some people who seem to be going way out of their way to prove that it has some substance behind it.

    There’s a ton of stuff you say that I will be pleased to disagree with. But as a Sox fan, it’s been a real treat to follow your career here. When athletes clam up or spout cliches, people complain; when athletes are outspoken, people tell them to shut up. What can you do. It’s terrific, as a fan, to hear a player willing to share insight about his approach to the game and various other matters.

    I hope you realize that, like the few bad apples in the media, the number of fans who sympathize with the loudest complainers is extremely small.

    Unless it works to psyche you up to prove people wrong. If that’s the case, you should be aware that everyone thinks your hometown, your religion, and Lou Gehrig are all stupid.

  94. lou1277 permalink
    March 22, 2007 5:30 pm

    I am thrilled with his decision! Thanks so much for your take on the whole situation. Great site, by the way!

  95. soxfanfromaz permalink
    March 22, 2007 5:30 pm

    I know this is pure speculation and probably just wishful thinking, but do you think with Papelbon back in the pen, the Sox will go after Clemens that much harder? I know we have plenty of arms capable of handling the 5th spot in the rotation, but Clemens would fit into the rotation a lot easier now dont you think?

    Schilling
    Beckett
    Clemens
    Matsuzaka
    Wakefield

    With Papelbon coming in to close out games.

    WOW.

  96. nysoxfan permalink
    March 22, 2007 5:37 pm

    Curt,

    Great blog. Thank you.

    I was just wondering your opinion on the DirecTV/Cable dispute over the MLB Extra Innings package. As a Sox fan in upstate NY, I rarely get the chance to watch my Sox on TV without the EI package and now MLB is telling me that if I want to get the package I have to get DirecTV. That’s very nice, but I can’t get a signal at my home and I don’t want to switch from my cable provider even if I could. This doesn’t effect just Sox fans, but all baseball fans who do not live in the home broadcast area of their favorite team. Are the players even aware that this is happening and do they care that there are many, many unhappy fans?

  97. ryssee permalink
    March 22, 2007 6:02 pm

    Yippee!!! Papelbon is a rock star. This is a great way to start the season right.

  98. isyank permalink
    March 22, 2007 6:16 pm

    Curt:

    I have to say that what you are doing – getting closer to the Fans is great. I wish there where yankees that did this. Good luck this year (other than againist NYY)

  99. papasote permalink
    March 22, 2007 6:30 pm

    I gotta admit I was psyched to hear that Pap is back in the ‘pen. I’d love to see him starting eventually, for the strictly selfish reason that it’s so much fun to watch him shut guys down. 200 innings of that would be even better than 70ish. But I know that the Sox need a closer- a REAL closer- in order to make it into the postseason. And while stats may support Pap’s greater value in terms of winning as a very good starter instead of as a dominant closer, I feel like team psychology may kinda balance that out. I would imagine that, as a starter, you would be much less prone to trying to do too much with a real stopper available for the ninth inning. As in, now you don’t have to freak out if you don’t pitch into the ninth, and can just find the groove instead. Any merit to the thought?

    Also, I just got done reading Verducci’s article in SI about Matsuzaka-san’s refusal to ice his arm after any pitching activities. It totally flipped me out until they started explaining the theory a little bit, and I have to say it seems to make sense. Or at least that it could make sense for some players. Do you think there is room for change in the way a pitcher recuperates here in the States? Do you think anyone at the proffessional level has the minerals to buck the current system and give alternate methods a shot? Does your personal regimen include anything outlandish like that?

  100. wa11c permalink
    March 22, 2007 6:31 pm

    Curt—

    I’m a huge fan of yours from back in ’93 when you were with the Phillies. I was just 5 years old then, but you guys got me loving baseball. Quite honestly, listening to the truly magical voice of Harry Kalas got me interested in sports broadcasting, which I’m doing now as a college freshman. Reading your last Q & A, in which you mentioned Harry, got me thinking…

    Let me get to the point: I was wondering if you’d be at all willing to be interviewed on the radio show I’m putting together on the student radio station. While I fully understand how unlikely this is, it would be such a tremendous honor, not to mention a boon to the show, which is just about to premiere.

    If you can e-mail or message me if you are interested, I would be more than happy to give you more details. (I believe my e-mail address is in my profile.) Either way, thanks a lot for doing this blog, Curt. I’m personally not a fan of the Sox, but I wish you the best of luck this season.

    – Sam

  101. March 22, 2007 6:35 pm

    hey Curt!
    Quick question..
    Do you think the move of Papelbon to the Bullpen may pave the way, or atleast give a clearly route for the possibility of Clemens joining the sox in May/june-ish??

    Thanks again!
    -Matt

  102. appledrums permalink
    March 22, 2007 6:42 pm

    Curt, you’ve done a little relieving, including closing, yourself, which do you think is easier on the arm, the regular routine and consecutive off-days of starting, or the lower pitch-count but un-even routine of relieving?
    – Steve

  103. henri100 permalink
    March 22, 2007 6:45 pm

    Curt:

    You should consider posting a link to Autism Speaks. It’s a great charity and with 1 in 150 recent births on the autism spectrum it’s a serious public health issue. On a more topical note, I think that this is a great move if his health permits.

  104. March 22, 2007 6:46 pm

    Curt
    You said you’d sell ice cream to see Roger return to Boston…..well I’d sell the Sprinkles!!! To see him come full circle, not to mention Roger is THE SOLE REASON I am a Sox fan would make this Texas gal absolutely put her baseball memorabilia on hock to get a ticket to see him pitch in Fenway AS a Red Sox.

    Im a Texan through and through except when it comes to baseball…Baseball is my 1st love in Sports…I grew up down the street from a little league field. I have seen Roger pitch in Yankee Stadium and at Minute Maid…in fact I was at the game he pitched the day his mom passed…and it was like she was right there cheering him on….he was awesome that night!

    If Roger were to choose to come to Boston….what are your feelings about his special treatment such as not traveling to away games? I don’t have alot of issues with it myself but wonder if other players do. I would think after putting in all those years that you get perks…

    See you in Arlington at The Rangers BallPark!
    Tex

  105. thankusox04 permalink
    March 22, 2007 6:49 pm

    I’m just flabbergasted by all the negative responses I’m seeing about this news, not only on your blog but on the Red Sox board and such. I damn near hit my head on the roof when jumping up from the couch upon hearing the news that Paps was going to be our closer again. I immediately went to the Sox site, expecting to be able to celebrate with all of RSN, but instead, I see a bunch of negative remarks. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? Our ONLY “weakness” has just been erased, poof, GONE. This kid is a STUD who has ice in his veins, he’s a CLOSER. I’ve been praying for this since the day they announced he’d be a starter. Thank you baseball gods!!!

    With you at the top of a SICK rotation (anyone who says you are not the Curt you once were is either an ignornant fool, or a Yankee fan which is pretty much redundant, but I digress). You, Beckett (who I agree with you, he IS an ace in the making… more sooner than later too), DiceK (I know how competitive you are and wanting to have the “Ace” stats. I think he’s going to be neck and neck with you the entire season, which is definitely a good thing for all involved), Wakey and *gulp* Tavarez. I’ll admit, that dude scares me. However, the more I see Snyder, the more I am a Snyder believer so I know he can step right in if Tavarez goes psycho on us. Let’s not forget our beloved young lefty-Lester, just waiting in the wings.

    Take me out to the ballgame…..take me out to the pahhhhk. Buy me sushi and crackerjacks! HERE WE GO RED SOX, HERE WO GO!

  106. ahounddog permalink
    March 22, 2007 6:59 pm

    Hey Curt,

    Thanks for the forum. The Sawx needed to fill a hole and they did. It’s a long season and things will change along the way. Get off to a good start and build the momentum throughout the year.

  107. unexpectedjourney permalink
    March 22, 2007 7:05 pm

    Finally! Other than any medical concerns, I cannot belive it took this long to go back to the most effective closer that the Sox have had since Tom Gordon (exluding Mr. Foulke’s crazy and awesome postseason). Snyder, Taverez, Lester, they are all possibilities. But does this not open the door for a strong pitch to Clemens to fill the final rotation slot?!

  108. morpheusfu permalink
    March 22, 2007 7:06 pm

    Curt, great job buddy. Blog looks great and thanks for keeping us all updated on the Sox and 38studios.

  109. bigpapi34 permalink
    March 22, 2007 7:11 pm

    Curt-

    First off, I’d like to say that I’m someone who enjoys the “outspoken” athletes. Guys like yourself, Boomer Wells, and Petey are refreshing to listen to, after hearing all the Bull Durham Crash Davis cliches that everyone else gives. And, being the fan of pitching that I am, I’m very much looking forward to your breaking down your starts like you did the other day.

    Two part question:

    I don’t know the numbers, but it seemed like Pap had a lot of games last season where he had to get more than 3 outs. Alot of teams protect their closers by only letting them throw 1 inning, and always start that inning with no baserunners. Eric Gagne comes to mind when he was running off his 80+ straight saves.

    Having a guy like Pap (or Foulkie in ’04) who can put out fires in the 8th inning, and get four to six outs on some nights is great, but….

    ….how much more stress is put on a guy – both physically and mentally – if he has to do that, as opposed to getting just 3 outs and not inheriting baserunners?

    ….do you see Tito trying to make more of an effort to keep Pap out of the game before the 9th?

    Thanks…

  110. 56thousandnewyorkers permalink
    March 22, 2007 7:24 pm

    A hammer like Pap come few and far between. If he gets enough looks, he definitely has the stuff and the makeup to be Rivera-like. If Delcarmen and Hansen can get consistent, then look the hell out.

  111. hartill permalink
    March 22, 2007 7:29 pm

    Thanks a lot, Schill

    I’m gonna be a little less anxious at the end of games knowing Pap’s in the wings. He was extraordinary last year. I believe he’ll only get better.

    And for a first-timer to your blog, let me thank you for taking the time to put this together. I’ll be a regular reader. You obviously put a lot of thought into your entries.

    It is appreciated.

  112. dadhadals permalink
    March 22, 2007 7:30 pm

    I like it…I gotta admit, I was saddened at first only because I, like many, think he has great stuff and can be a dominant starter in this league. I also LOVE the fact that he’s coming in to shut down games sometimes with as little as 1 pitch.

    The kid will be great in his role and it will take a great deal of stress off us fans wondering who the closer will be and how they will work out. We’ve already seen what this kid can do and we like it.

    Give him our best and let’s get to some serious ass kickin’!!!!

  113. slyder29 permalink
    March 22, 2007 7:55 pm

    First let me start with a comment and then post a question. I think Paps back to the end of the pen is a great idea. I feel that a quality closer should have two quailty pitches, whether is be fastball/change, fastball/cutter or in Paps’ case fastball/splitter. I don’t feel he has commander of his other pitches in this stage of his career to get guys out for 6, 7, even 8 inns. Now to my question…Schill…is Taverez the answer at the end of the rotation? Is he more valueable in the pen where he can be used in a number of different situations? If Lester is healthy will he take the 5th spot? Or is there help outside the organization? I won’t even metion a certain Texan, right now it just seems to far fetched….BTW great set-up on the website Curt…Thanks

  114. ej65 permalink
    March 22, 2007 8:21 pm

    I am very excited by this news about Papelbon. I liked his attitude and the sound bites as reported on the article on MLB really looked positive about the choice. I also think this is good news for Tavares who seemed to really come alive as a starter late in the season. I was hesitant about the season with it looking like Tavares as closer, but now I am almost beside myself with excitement about this season. I haven’t felt this good since 2004

  115. mediarojas45 permalink
    March 22, 2007 8:22 pm

    Let me 1st say, great F’n blog Mr. Schilling

    I really think this is the correct move. Paps was so great last year as the closer. A question for you Mr. Schilling , What do you think is more important for a teams success? 80 unbelieveable innings? (from a pitcher), or 200 good innings?

  116. mapsox permalink
    March 22, 2007 8:29 pm

    Mr. Schilling,

    First let me thank you for your kindness to my girlfriend and I at the New Stars for Young Stars II event at Jillian’s. It was a pleasure to meet you. I think this is great news for both Jonathan and the Sox. Jonathan seems to have that killer mentality that a closer needs. He enjoys mowing down opposing batters and truly loves the team, the city and its fans. He thrives off the emotion of Fenway and it’s faithful across the globe. My question to you Mr. Schilling, on paper currently our starting five look like the following:

    1. Schilling
    2. Beckett
    3. Matsuzaka
    4. Wakefield
    5. Tavarez

    As much as I thought Julian had a great run as a starter last year, is he durable enough for a 180+ inning season? Why not let Kason Gabbard take a crack at that 5 spot, he has really impressed me this off season, and that lineup would be killer with an Ace, 2 Aces in training, a Knuckleballer and an impressive lefty. I know that once Jon Lester is back to full strength/capability, that spot is his, but why not keep a lefty in there to get the seat warm?

  117. pdanesi permalink
    March 22, 2007 9:09 pm

    Curt:

    I’d rather read your blog than just about an paid sports writer on this planet. This is must read writing.

  118. jalbs permalink
    March 22, 2007 9:47 pm

    Curt,

    I had two reactions when I heard the news earlier today…I was excited for the Sox and the brighter outlook the season now takes, but I also have to cringe just a little because it is hard to get the image of him hurting his shoulder last season.

    Ultimately this is Jonathan’s career and he should have a majority of say in what he thinks he should be doing. Reading his comments today shows me that this is what he is destined to do. This is what he wants to do. Everyone involved whether it be Paps, Tito, Theo, or the medical staff is that much more educated on this situation and what should and should not be done. The exercise regiment and not trotting him out there every waking moment should hopefully prevent an injury from occuring again.

    I personally have liked Snyder since last season and would love to see him given the #5 slot. For the first month or so the team won’t need a #5, so it shouldn’t be an issue right away. I personally think Lester should pitch in Pawtucket the entire first half of the season.

    Knowing that Papelbon will now be at the back end of the pen should allow everyone to breathe a sigh of relief (no pun intended).

    Thanks for being on the cutting edge with this blog Curt.

  119. acefox1 permalink
    March 22, 2007 10:12 pm

    Wow, it sure is true that you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please everybody. I guess I should have learned that when people accused you of all kinds of craziness regarding the bloody sock. (I still have the photo of the sutures in your ankle from ESPN if anybody wants to see them.)

    Anyway, thanks for putting up with us Curt and still giving us the benefit of your time and your thoughts. For those that think you should only pitch and keep quiet, isn’t that what 99% of all other players do? If Curt’s blog was interfering with other players somehow getting their voices heard, then I might see your point, but since that’s not the case, who cares if Curt has news, stories and thoughts to share.

    It’s a unique forum for lots of us. For those thata re annoyed by it, don’t waste your time ccoming here. I certainly don’t waste my time going to Yankee fan blogs to kick sand in their faces or bad-mouth them. And being a PITA just for the sake of being a PITA is just sad beyond words.

    For everyone eager to slam Curt for breaking the story, BDD had the same news in their news feed at the same time so it was hardly Curt’s exclusive report. I’m sure that Curt wouldn’t go postingg inside news on his blog unless it was okay with the Front Office.

    And for all the talk that this is just a bunch of spin, Paps is saying that he wants to concentrate his pitching career on being a closer and emulating Mariano Rivera. Since we’re getting that straight from the horse’s mouth I don’t think anybody can gripe about this being forced on him.

    I’d still prefer to see him as a top-flight starter, but we sure are lucky that we are in a position where we could either have him as a starter or as a closer. It sure beats seeing us make another Bronson Arroyo type mistake, as much as I love Willy Mo’s slugging.

    Keep up the good work Curt. I know that the criticism probably gets your attention a lot more than the compliments from well-wishers like me, but don’t put too much stock in all that negative, sniping talk. Your voice and insight are unique and I doubt we’ll see a fan resource like this come along again for a long time.

    Your biggest fan,

    Deane

  120. mobettabosox permalink
    March 22, 2007 10:26 pm

    Curt,

    I’d like to commend you for doing this. Over the years you have been up front, honest and unafraid to speak your mind. Most important you are revolutionizing and making a major update to the way information gets to the public and fans. Most important from a fans perspective you are allowing us to be closer to the players, information and the game we all love. Everything changes. Everything updates. For whatever reason for the past forty or fifty years MLB players and the media have fallen into the unbreakable habit of media asking questions they know the answers to and players dishing out cliches. Then as a fan we open the paper and read “we gave it 110% and luckily we came out on top” and we as fans say “oh wow, great information”. You have put yourself out there in a positon where you may be praised or criticized. You may be ridiculed and the media may even resent you for jumping over them. You could have taken the easy road and dished out the same old cliches and kept your mouth shut. What you have done instead is pioneered a way that I believe a number of other sports figures will be able to make the game more intimate than it already is.

    Everyone is already aware that you are an intellegent person. We are aware you are a giving person with the charity work you do. In Boston you are a legendary hero for what you did for us in 2004. Of all the accomplishments you have achieved I think this is the most significant. You have opened the door for athletes to get their real stories out and for fans to live their dreams of communicating with their heros.

    Sometimes I agree with what you say, others I don’t. The one thing I know is you are honest and intersting and a major reason my dad and I embraced in October of 2004. Charles Barkley once said athletes are not role models. That is true if you consider them role models because they can dunk or throw a curve ball. You are a role model for displaying the family qualities, leadership qualities and of course the guts to risk your career to bring home a world series! Here’s hoping we have the honor of watching you pitch in Boston for a few more years and that afterward you are back as a pitching coach or manager!

  121. March 22, 2007 11:26 pm

    Great interview in SI, BTW. Does it bother you that people who don’t understand the level of baseball that you compete at think they understand the nuances of it? I read the comments of people who don’t like Paps as a closer and I can’t help but think of the arrogance of them thinking they know better than the guys who are there; players, FO, doctors and management.

    I learned a long time ago that the game you play is totally different than the level I played in high school. I played with Dimitri Young in high school at a private school while he was in 7th grade. He batted .640 against high school pitching as a 12 year old. We all hoped he’d make it.

    I have a friend who played AAA for five years and I ‘d go to the batting cage with him and be amazed when he’d hit 300-400 balls a session. Totally different level of the game and even he couldn’t make it and stay.

    Everyone thinks they know the game because they played it. It’s part of the reaility of playing, I get that but if I was you, it’d drive me crazy when people thought they really understood the game in the same way. So I admire your patience or deaf ears as you deal with all the second guessing.

  122. March 22, 2007 11:59 pm

    Wow, you get a lot of commenters. It’s impressive that you answer as many of these as you do. My question (I don’t think its a repeat…): the addition of Papelbon makes the bullpen really interesting, because of all of the legitimate setup, LH, and middle relief options picked up during the off-season (Timlin, plus Donnelly, Romero, Hideki). So what is Piniero’s role now?

    He seems like an interesting pitcher (I mean, he was pretty great a few years back before his injury — I see the potential Theo and the FO saw in him). I’d love to read your thoughts. Thanks.

  123. techsoldaten permalink
    March 23, 2007 12:10 am

    Mr. Schilling –

    Thank you for this blog, I enjoy reading your posts and being part of the community that is forming. Despite the naysayers, I think your posts are informative and give people a much needed alternative to the stale media accounts of the team.

    I think it’s great having Paps as the closer, and I am sure it gives you some comfort as a starter knowing there is someone that capable coming in in the 9th.

    I own a software company myself, we work in a different industry than yours but probably confront many of the same challenges. A word of advice – watch out for those programmers. I am up late tonight fixing problems created by my staff, while everyone else is getting a good night’s sleep. Too many good ideas on their part to get anything done.

    M

  124. forcefilly1 permalink
    March 23, 2007 12:20 am

    Curt,

    Thanks for the great news! I was hoping to hear Paps was our closer again before the season got under way.

    I really don’t have a lot to say on this matter as it’s all pretty cut and dry as far as I can see. He’s our closer, he’s healthy, end of story. This team is going to be pretty awesome this year, esp. with Paps on the backend again.

    I don’t know if this is the appropriate forum to reach you, but I’d love to talk to you some time about Thunder Storm N, who I root for every week. My father races horses and we were stabled for some time with John’s son and Thunder Storm. I write articles in the publicity dept. at the track. It’s a losing battle, at times, trying to regain the popularity we once had. Trying to get people interested again, or draw new fans. I’d love an event with you and Johnny P. but I’d definately settle for an interview.

  125. yhoque permalink
    March 23, 2007 12:41 am

    Hey Curt,
    Great stuff, this blog of yours. The fact that Papelbon is moving back to the bullpen is great news, if you ask me. I personally think the Red Sox had more options to fill the 5th starter role (Tavarez, Gabbard, Snyder, Lester, Bucholz in the future) than they had for the closer’s role. And although I love Bill James, I absolutely disagree with him about the importance of having a good closer in your team. I guess what I’m a little curious about is Papelbon’s comments that closing is what he really wanted to do, and he wants to be the closer for the rest of his career. Earlier in spring, I could’ve sworn I read him saying that he’s glad to be back in the rotation, that starting is something he feels natural doing. I guess I’m wondering if he ever talked to you or the boys in the clubhouse about which role he really feels most comfortable in, starter in closer. I know he’d do anything for the team, the kid’s got a tremendous heart, but I’m really concerned about his shoulder, as that was the justification that the front office gave for moving him to the rotation, and that’s the line that was being used even a few days ago to dismiss ‘any’ possibility of Papelbon being the closer again.

  126. quintjs permalink
    March 23, 2007 1:08 am

    Curt, ramifications for your contract extension? There might be one less starter on contract for the Red Sox in 2008 if Papelbon was serious about closing for his career.

    Gotta be better for the team only to have to find 1starter in the off-season than two.. had enough problems finding one closer, and basically didn’t.

    I am sure its not something I should be bringing up again, since its past news, but its new information.. It i were involved somehow, it would get me thinking. Some of the FA contracts being handed out, or in-house battles, I would rather play it safe.

  127. daevanus permalink
    March 23, 2007 1:54 am

    Curt,

    I honestly thing that what you blogged about here hit the nail on the head. I think Paps is stronger and ‘smarter’ this year, at least as far as his heath and preperations go. This is going to be a good year for him, regardless of his role in the organization, as long as he takes the time and effort to prepare for it.

    And, as a first timer reading your blog…. thank you. Your honest and… damn blunt writing style is refreshing to a Sox fan such as myself. I’ve been annoyed and pissed off with alot of the ‘news’ that’s been put out about the team over the last half-decade… your blog is not only amazingly timed, but sorely needed.

    -B

  128. billcop permalink
    March 23, 2007 2:39 am

    Schill,

    I think it’s great that Papelbon is going to be the closer again, and you’re right, it will help settle things with the rest of the pitchers as to what their roles will be. Do you think that Joel Piniero will have a chance to start again or do you think that his role will strictly be middle relief and set up? I’m very impressed so far with Dice-K, as well as with Okajima (Sp). Take care of both of them!

    I’m one of the few but proud Red Sox fans up here in Alaska. We even have a small fan club up here called “Far Away Fans of Fenway”! I’m definately looking forward to the season……GO SOX!!!!

  129. tomafield permalink
    March 23, 2007 3:34 am

    Thanks for sharing the insights, Curt.

    A couple of things stun me about all the reaction to your Paps post:

    1) The backlash by people who thought you “broke the news” here — like telling the truth first would be a *bad* thing. The news was out by noon yesterday. ESPN had it, Bradford had it, the Globe had a bulletin at the start of the Sox game. Tons of news outlets told us what happened; Curt was just the first to explain why it happened and what it all means to the team. I mean, isn’t this the kind of perspective we want from an insider? Let’s not be so quick to slap the hand that’s feeding us unprecedented insight. I don’t want to see this forum replaced by the Dr. Charles blog!

    2) The flood of “expert” opinions by people who’ve never met Jonathan Paplebon nor examined his shoulder. Healthy skepticism is good, but at some point don’t you have to accept that maybe the pitcher and the team know more about the situation than we do, and that they explored all the scenarios before arriving at this decision? Hell, from my perspective I have a ton of money invested in Sox tickets this season, so I consider mine a vested interest. But the Sox and Jonathan Paplepon certainly have a whole lot more invested in him, his health and his career. I’m trusting them to treat their investment wisely.

    To me, with this move, the Sox are a stronger team today than they were yesterday, with the right people in the right roles. I see nothing but positives here.

    best,

    Tom

  130. cjwally4 permalink
    March 23, 2007 5:14 am

    Curt,

    My father has als, it’s going on five years so it is slow but now entering the final year or so. few things other than family make him excited these days. but one thing that does are the red sox, and the 04 series win was special for him (and millions of others). what made it most special was your sock displaying kals. your efforts, from one family, are much appreciated.

    there is a golf tournament at the worcester country club at the end of the summer benefiting umass als association. any attention you could bring to this charity event would be much appreciated.

    good luck this year, hope to see you back next year

  131. tomafield permalink
    March 23, 2007 6:01 am

    Y’know, another post-er raised a great topic earlier, and I’d love to hear your take on it, Curt.

    Ticket accessibility.

    It’s tougher than ever to get a seat at Fenway. The prices are the highest in sports, and — despite all the steps the Sox have taken — the scalpers maintain their stranglehold on some of the best seats in the house.

    Granted, you never see many empty seats at Fenway, so the fans clearly are finding their way into the park. But at what price?

    I fear that we’re squeezing kids out of the ballpark. A family of four can’t afford many ballgames when it’s $100 minimum just to walk in the gate (let’s not even talk about concessions — I spent $50 before I even got to my seat once last year!). And that’s if they can even get four seats together. And I know when I’m paying $45-100 a seat, I think twice about whether I want to bring a kid who may want to leave after six innings, or a buddy who can stick it out & pay his fair share.

    Think about it: How ridiculous is it when fans are lining up airfare & tickets to Baltimore because it’s cheaper & easier to watch the Sox there than it is to visit Fenway?

    The scalpers stump me — I don’t know what the Sox could do, short of implementing airline-like security, checking tickets and ID’s at the gate (impractical at best). I suppose they could step up security outside the park & monitor the electronic transactions more closely (ala the Patriots), but those are band-aids.

    On behalf of families, though, maybe the Sox could reserve bunches of discounted tickets during the summer months & have fans apply for those in a lottery, as they currently do for Monster seats & Yankees games? I don’t know how you verify “family status” — enter kids’ birthdates in the application field, maybe? I dunno. But it’s a step toward matching tickets and families.

    I do think this is an area that needs to be addressed. You can’t grow that next generation of fans if they can’t get into the ballpark. The Sox need to think beyond this season & consider who they’re selling tickets to — and how — in the coming years.

    Your thoughts on ticket accessibility, Curt?

    best,

    Tom

  132. stumpsr permalink
    March 23, 2007 6:54 am

    As much as the Red Sox need Papelbon at this particular moment, I feel that as a closer with the talent that he has will be selling himself short. He has the ability to be a very good starter. I saw the video clip of when he was injured last season, if you notice the look of concern on his face and the trainers face…..words arent needed to describe it. Papelbon has yet to receive his really big payday and with the salaries that some of the starting pitchers got in the off season, as a closer Papelbon will never receive such salaries. You can bet that somewhere down the road there will be another arm or shoulder injury, next time rehab wont cut it, a surgeon will and it will be a long road back.

  133. jcrance permalink
    March 23, 2007 7:49 am

    Hi Curt – Love the initiative you are taking to bring the cerebral part of the game to us fans. I just read your sports illustrated article and can’t wait to read a game log and your thought processes. Do you fear that batters on the opposing teams will also be reading this trying to get a leg up? My thought is you can use the game log as an effective mind game so long as you don’t establish any consistencies. My other question concerns the starting rotation. Since Pap is going back to closer, everybody has assumed that Tavarez will move into the 5 spot. Why hasn’t anybody (and maybe you have already) gone to the mat for Kyle Snyder. He has 3 plus pitches and sometimes four if he can get his slider going. It seems like he would be the better candidate with the higher upside to step in. Any insight would be most appreciated.

  134. andrewmendillo permalink
    March 23, 2007 8:46 am

    Is it weird that I am disappointed?

    I was looking forward to Pap being a 15 game winner this year. I was excited looking ahead to a rotation with three 26 year olds.

  135. shiplore permalink
    March 23, 2007 9:05 am

    Hiya Curt,

    Got a question about your game design theory, I’m a big WOW fan, I was never able to get into EQ or SWG, and I’ve realised that it comes down to group vs. solo activities, I love the communty that MMORGs offer but I don’t want to HAVE to progress with others, I like solo play and often have only an hour or two at a time, will your game support the “solo” player progression? (something the D&D game really doesn’t do.) I’m pushing the mid-30s, have a wife and a job that takes a lot of time… for gamers like myself i can’t afford to “schedule” the game around life, and I don’t want to spend 50% of my gamer time, LFGing.

    Good luck this season!

    On a baseball note i hope the contract situation gets worked out, and you stay with the sox after this year!

    -jeff.

  136. mattingly23 permalink
    March 23, 2007 9:21 am

    I think your leaving a big spot in your starting rotation empty, with papelbon going to bullpen. The other 4 starters have way to many questions.

  137. dirtdogjp7 permalink
    March 23, 2007 9:35 am

    I am excited about the idea of Pap being back in the bullpen. After last year’s performance, the moment he fist pumps the state trooper coming out of the bullpen I am totally confident that he is going to get the job done. And now that we have 3 aces at the top of our rotation, their great outings will not go wasted.

  138. bktong permalink
    March 23, 2007 9:39 am

    You talked about how a young pitcher learns about the body and in Pap’s case can use this information advantageously.

    a couple of quick comparisons though:
    two cursed wrigleyvillers, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. What is Pap’s doing differently than these two former all-world studs?

    with wood, i’ve always heard talk about how it’s his mechanics and how violent his curveball is. With Prior, he just seems really unlucky.

    So what is it? mechanics? luck? Health?

    how do the young guys like Paps, King Felix, Cole Hammel and the such keep out of the injury bug for good?

    does the first early injury help the pitcher change? and if results aren’t seen soon enough, will they revert to the bad mechanics that got them their MLB contract in the first place?

    ok.. had more than a few questions.
    thanks for writing your blog curt.

  139. March 23, 2007 10:14 am

    Personally, I think this is a great move. If Pap wants to close, why not let him? It more than fills the void and Tavarez showed last year that it seems as though he can be a solid starter. Sox also seem to have enough arms to fill the #5 slot if he doesn’t work out. We’ll see …

  140. fh14 permalink
    March 23, 2007 10:15 am

    Curt,

    Great blog. Very entertaining once you get by the ball washing. Nice alternative from SOSH. Tougher to get in there than into Augusta National.

    What is your position on linking other blogs to this blog ? I am the webmaster of a town news/happenings blog in the small hamlet of Millville, MA (I’ll bet you don’t know where that is). It’s 4 square miles of Red Sox fans who eat up everything Sox.

    Don’t want to assume it’s OK as I’m sure many do.

    Looking forward to April 2nd…you think spring training is long for you guys.

    As far as Pap goes. I have to say I’m disappointed. I had him pegged being in the hunt for the Cy Young this year. He’s a special kid. That’s not to say he couldn’t do it as a closer, just much harder. I hope the front office rewards his flexability.

  141. lissaann permalink
    March 23, 2007 10:16 am

    Mr. Schilling,

    I know you’ve had a lot to say about the media recently. This question is more about Jason Varitek than you.

    The media is crucifying Jason this spring, looking at his batting average during training, pointing out he’s batting .080.

    Even worse, the fans appear to be turning on him. On the Boston Globe forum, there were 8 pages of responses of how the Sox never should have signed him to a four year contract, that he’s not worth what they pay him, that he’s a mediocre or sub-par catcher, that the team won’t win the Series if he can’t hit, and worst of all, some people have said he’s taken steriods and/or amphetamines.

    Is that how the team sees him? Or are the fans just jumping to conclusions and not giving him the time he needs?

  142. alteriago permalink
    March 23, 2007 10:22 am

    Hey Curt:

    Seems like there is two ways to look at this thing with Paps. One is the Red Sox don’t trust the other releivers to do a good enough job. Or Paps curve isn’t working and he was having a tough time going longer innings.

    The other (and my feeling) is that they have alot of confidence in the starting rotation. That mean you, obviously, but also Beckett and Matz. I think they also must have liked what they saw last year and this spring with Tavarez.

    I take this is decision as sign of confidence in the pitching staff not a sign of dissapointment or a failed plan. Any thoughts?

  143. bandofbrothers38 permalink
    March 23, 2007 10:35 am

    Hey Curt,

    First off, the first week you signed with the Red Sox, you were on the Sons Of Sam Horn chatroom, shooting the sh*t with the fans. I was the one idiot who didn’t ask you a baseball question, I asked if you liked the Band Of Brothers mini series(Hence my name), knowing you were a history buff. Not sure if you remember that, but I loved your response, which was comparable to a kid at Christmas morning. But I digress…

    I’m writing to ask what you think, (or if you have given it thought it at all) about Bud Selig’s dastardly attempt at severing the baseball ties with out of market fans with his DirecTV initiative? First it was signing that exlcusive game deal with 2K Sports, which, as a gamer, you must admit is nowhere near as great as the EA MVP series. Now it’s no out of market baseball unless you have a dish. I’m from Wakefield, MA. I have been a die-hard Red Sox fan all my life. I moved to Naperville, IL in the summer of ’05. The one thing that helped my transition to life in the mid-west was the fact that I could come home from work and flip on the Sox game and hear the wonderful, familiar voices of Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy, dissecting the hometown 9, as they rolled over whichever unfortunate team they were playing. Now, B.S. (which is an appropriate set of initials for him) is taking that away from me.

    I don’t care what Selig tells us. His claim that we are a small number of fans makes me wonder how he is the commisioner of baseball, and not a hot dog vendor. The man has his finger somewhere, but it’s not the pulse of baseball fans. I’d tell you where it was, but I’m trying to keep this post clean so you’ll read it.

    I am willing to bet most players don’t give this much thought, Curt, but I also think you would have an opinion on this. As a huge fan of yours, I would love to hear it. I hope to see you striking EVERYONE out this year, not just Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Jim Thome and the rest of the White Sox players whom I can only watch now.

    God Bless,
    Matt A.

  144. dirtdognumber7 permalink
    March 23, 2007 11:00 am

    I am very excited about this move. It turns one of the Sox’s biggest question marks (the bullpen) into a strength. Although, I am a little weary about about Tavarez as a starter, but it’s not a huge concern. I would not be surprised if Snyder emerges an an effect starter. Who knows maybe the Rocket might view the vacancy as an open invitation. I love your quote that you would not only give your spot in the rotation if he came but you “would sell ice cream.” Haha classic. Good luck on the second in KC, Schill. I cannot wait.

  145. crowbar permalink
    March 23, 2007 11:04 am

    hi curt.i think u are a hall of fame pitcher.i went to the parade in 2004 and my eyes crossed with u in the duckboats and u looked at me and put your finger for number 1.i will never forget what you did with your bloody sock.i just wished my father was there to watch the championship.he died in 1990.so we just watched the 1986 world series together.I miss him so much.i was 17 years old when he died in 1990.he was a marine who served in the korean war.he also was in the minor leagues for the washington senators.his favorite player was ted williams.I still have my mother so thats good.she is 70 years old.good luck to this season curt.bring home a second championship.may god bless you and your family.I am 33 years old who is not married just a girlfriend.I hope boston red sox will sign you for next year.keep in touch.

  146. sdepascale permalink
    March 23, 2007 11:19 am

    I have been telling people for a while that the Sox should move JP back to the closer role and sign Clemens to take his spot in the rotation while guys like Tavarez keep it warm until he’s ready to pitch.

    Curt, have you or any of the other players spoken with Roger (in terms of recruiting)?

  147. frodo1962 permalink
    March 23, 2007 11:39 am

    Curt, I hope you’re right on this decision. Like many people here, I was looking forward to a starting rotation with Pap’s in it.

  148. 09neurotic permalink
    March 23, 2007 11:47 am

    tomafield, the difference between Rob Bradford’s blog and this blog is that Rob Bradford is not an employee of the Boston Red Sox. It seems like some people here are of the mindset that because Curt has a blog, it means they’re entitled to juicy insider tidbits. That’s not the case. This is a forum to interact with fans, not give them the jump on ESPN.

  149. ss21 permalink
    March 23, 2007 11:51 am

    I like him as a closer. Not sure about Julian as 5th though. He does come across as a little “off” and I think that is a good thing to have on your side. You never know when he is going to go high and tight on someone. I was at Lester’s first career start last season (Yeah I waited 7 hours in the rain) and was impressed by him, how close is he to being “the guy?”

    Good Luck on Opening Day.

  150. rockerdc permalink
    March 23, 2007 12:19 pm

    Jon Papelbon is a young guy. I think this will cause more problems for him as closer. I keep hearing the Mario Rivera comparisons with the possible saves he will have, but he needs to learn to truly calm himself down if he is gonna last. The Red Sox already have enough decent starting pitchers (and relivers) to staff two lower teir major league teams, so I wouldn’t worry about that. To survive, he is gonna have to learn to locate (which requires quietude and a resolute focus of the mind) and stop trying to throw the ball 100 miles an hour all the time. Also, he will need more pitches: the fast ball killed his arm last year and it will kill his arm this year if he doesn’t learn another pitch. Furthermore, all the pressue that the management and the press (and the crowd) put on him had a big impact on his historical amount of saves, but also encouraged him to overdo it and blow out his arm. Paplebon will have to get over thinking he is going to “people please” the red sox franchise by over throwing with sheer speed and bravado–and he’s got bravado with a big b. Curt, what’s the deal with the hype over the fast ball? I know it brings awe to the fans (much like home runs), but why isn’t there encouragement to use three, maye four pitches for younger throwers like Paplebon? Do they really have to throw out their arms before being forced to use another pitch? I know you have mostly used fast balls, but for real, is speed always the answer? I think you would have had more strike outs and wins if you had others pitches. Finesse and multipicity will bring longevity.

  151. squashead permalink
    March 23, 2007 12:39 pm

    I have to agree with this move, only disappointed we had to go through the closer by audition charade. I think the team needed Paps as the closer all along. Without a reliable closer, too many good efforts by the starting staff could go to waste. We have seen this in the past when Foulke was not on his game. We must remember, this is a team game, the team wins, Paps is most valuable to the sox when he is in the closer role. Closers giving up leads and giving away games doesnt help the team. Did anybody feel secure with Pineiro as the closer? I mean really?
    Imagine opening day with a one run lead and this guy trots out there to close it? The whole stadium would be groaning expletives while Paps watched. I must say I questioned this entire concept from the jump, and am glad they got off it when they did. With the season starting in a little over a week, making the move now settles things, and this was necessary. We cant afford another closer by committee scenario either. Whether this came from within or outside will probably remain a mystery, as will Paps real desire to start or to close, however, if I can see anything through the haze, I am seeing somebody fulfilling a vital role for the benefit of the team, and the best person to do it will be doing it.

  152. pedro45 permalink
    March 23, 2007 12:50 pm

    Curt,

    At first I was very skeptical of the blog because I wasn’t sure if you’d be able to update it frequently because you’re a full time major league ball player. At this point I think it’s a great source of information and I’ve enjoyed your posts each time they’ve came out.

    With that being said, I think Papelbon being converted back to closer makes the Red Sox a favorite in the AL East. We’ve now got arguably the top closer in the game to pair with potentially one of the most dominant starting rotation in the games.

    For all the people who think this is a bad making Papelbon a closer think about it this way for a second. Realistically what would you expect from Papelbon in his first year starting? At most 14-15 wins, maybe 7-10 losses with an ERA north of 4 due to pitching in the AL East. He’s not going to reach his full potential as a starter in his first year it’s going to take some time. So look on it that way do you think the Yankees would’ve traded Mariano Rivera for a starter who’s going to go 14-10 with a 4.00 ERA? I highly doubt that.

    We’ve now solidified our bullpen with Donnelly, Piniero, and Timlin slotting into set up roles. We’ve also added a potential trade chip at the deadline in Tavarez if he can become a serviceable starter. This is a good thing because I believe if Tavarez reaches 65 innings an option will trigger in his contract that will guarentee next year, which quite frankly I don’t want him on this team next year with the potential of Bryce Cox, Hansen, and Delcarmen all being ready.

    The future looks bright for the Red Sox with Matsuzaka and Beckett anchoring our rotation and Papelbon shutting the door for the next 5-7 years.

    Let’s just hope we can get through this season with some good health because it seems to me that the Red Sox have only gotten stronger since the end of last year.

    Good luck in 07 Curt

    -Mike Ricciardi

  153. olegthewise permalink
    March 23, 2007 1:01 pm

    Trying unsuccessfully this way and that to spin this news into some kind of positive. But really, it comes down to this: the Red Sox have just taken 130 innings worth of outs from Papelbon and gave them to Tavarez.

    This is 15 *extra* full games’ worth of innings, almost a tenth of a season. You have a choice between Pap and Tavarez pitching the equivalent of 15 complete games for you over a season. The Red Sox took those 15 full games from Pap and gave them to Tavarez. Please think about that for a minute. The abysmal idiotism of this choice defies words. Sigh.

    If you are still not convinced, please also think about last year. Pap was wracking up saves, while the Sox’ season went down in flames with a dozen assorted starters losing one game after another.

  154. March 23, 2007 1:05 pm

    Curt,

    As a Yankee Fan, I have loathed your very existence ever since you ruined my life in 2000 as a Diamondback. Imagine the hatred that I developed when you joined the Red Sox. Every time, you took the mound, I prayed to the baseball gods, that you got shelled beyond recognition.

    However, as much as I hate to admit it. I have developed nothing but respect as a result of this blog. Although, you, and your bloody sock have haunted my dreams for months, reading and learning about how you really are, has opened my eyes for years to come. You add a humility perspective to baseball players, that often gets lost in the midst of fan fare and not that it matters to you, I am sure you have won over plenty of Yankee fans like myself on this site.

  155. thetom54 permalink
    March 23, 2007 1:19 pm

    Hey Curt,

    I would say this is a great move for the team. Papelbon being the closer instantly turns a question mark (bullpen/closer) into a solid part of this team. Donnelly, Romero, Pineiro and Timlin are going to be great coming out of the pen.

    Last year during the season, you guys played the Phillies in Philadelphia and I drove all the way down from Rhode Island to see it. I had seats right behind the Red Sox dugout and I was so excited, I could hardly contain myself. When I yelled “Hey Curt you’re the best!” and you looked back and acknowledged me, that was an awesome moment for me. I just wanted to say thank you for that quick moment and for you kindness as you have always been my favorite player, dating back to your Phillies days because of the way you handle yourself and the way you go about you job. When people say that sometimes they can’t connect with ballplayers, I disagree. You’re a player that I think everyone should be able to connect with, as I have. You go about your business in a blue-collar kind of way, and I really enjoy that about you. You work hard, take responsibility and always say whats on your mind, and you’re usually right. Thank you so much for everything you have done for the city of Boston, ALS and the Red sox fans everywhere. I really hope to see you in a sox uinform next year, either way i’ll be rooting for you.

  156. carbo permalink
    March 23, 2007 1:30 pm

    Just Glad to see the Sox reached this decision before the season started and before a few good outings by the starters were flushed down the toilet due to blown saves.

    Given how close we have come to division title in recent years (06 notwithstanding) it drives me crazy when fans and the media fail to recognize that every single game is crucial -whether they take place in April or September.

    Hats off to the Sox for making this crucial decision in a timely fashion.

  157. castleman permalink
    March 23, 2007 1:32 pm

    Regarding ticket availability: The Red Sox through their website, box office, and phone sales always release more tickets in the week or so leading up to a game. Check all these sources if you have the opportunity…especially in the week before a specific game. Heck and while you are at it ask them about any other game that might interest you later on in the season. It can’t hurt. I sat on the Green Monster last year for face value and I got the tickets the week of the game (on the website). These tickets, especially Monster seats, can go real fast. They have other price levels as well although I assume the more tickets you need together…the harder that will be to pull off. Be persistent and it will pay off for you. Others who check these sources frequently are probably cursing me right now but I really don’t care…would like to help people who get frustrated at the perceived scarcity of tickets.

  158. cheech42078 permalink
    March 23, 2007 2:05 pm

    Curt,

    There were so many blogs that couldnt read all of them but i have to ask, you said yourself that you are a video game player. My question is do you ever find yourself playing baseball games and if so which one(s)? It would be interested to hear your response on how you think the designers develop you per say in a particular game.

    Getting to baseball

    Being the cerebral game that it is, do you find yourself sometimes over analyzing while on the mound? In essence, sometimes too smart for your own good?

  159. neonsox permalink
    March 23, 2007 2:21 pm

    I don’t mind the idea of Papelbon in the closer role, but Tavares in the rotation is a mistake. I don’t think you can place emphasis on last September and use it to rate his success in April (or any other month, really). In september, there’s a lot of up-and-coming or experimental talent around instead of your every day, pennant-race players. Time will tell, but I think they need to look elsewhere instead of guy who is a good middle-reliever at best.

  160. redsoxfanindallas permalink
    March 23, 2007 2:36 pm

    I think this is a great move. Hansen and Cox can develop into great setup men, and provide insurance against injuries. What are your thoughts on having Lester or Gabbard in the rotation to throw a lefty into the mix, considering the number of left handed sticks that the Yankees have in their lineup. If not, bring on the Rocket!!

    Thanks for the Blog

  161. soxfan1918 permalink
    March 23, 2007 3:15 pm

    First off I work with Yankee fans. Guess how they reacted to the news? They are scared! Did anyone see how Theo tried to find a closer out there? He didn’t want to give up young upcoming arms so this is great news. I read posts that said they would rather have 200 innings from him than 70 or 80. Paps has NEVER started so how can you expect him to give you that. He DID close and was one of if not the best closer last year. So he has proven what he can do. Tavarez started late in the season and had really good numbers plus he is a firery guy which is good. Lester will take his time and be ready by June. FORGET Clemens coming back. I don’t care how much money he wants good for him if he gets paid. He should stop playing games about if and when he comes back and for whom. Roger gave us great years. Not our fault Dan the man thought you were washed up so stop playing with our heartstrings. Announce your playing or not and for whom. How about JD DREW getting off to a great start,I think we’ll love this guy. I read he might bat 2nd behind Lugo due to his OBS and hitting. if we stay healthy this is a very good team.

  162. sexmutombo permalink
    March 23, 2007 3:34 pm

    What do you think Paps stats would have looked like had he pitched 200 innings this yr?

    Why do so many lefty hitters struggle much more vs lefty pitchers than righty hitters struggle vs righty pitchers? Is it just that their whole lives they don’t see as many lefty pitchers or is it more than that?

    Looking forward to your in season post games.

  163. bostonbb permalink
    March 23, 2007 3:41 pm

    Tomafield, I agree ticket accessibility is a problem, but a little foresight never hurts. I purchased a “10th Man Season Ticket Plan” a few years back, and it’s only $40 per game for two tix (blearchers, but still). I get two Skankee games included.

    Granted, the plan is now sold out, but the initial investment was under $500.

    I humbly suggest you jump on the next “plan” the Sox offer.

    BTW, I also have Pats seasons tix, which I purchased a couple of years before Parcells came here. People always ask, “how the hell did you get those?”

    Easy. I went through a few years of suffering, and now am enjoying the harvest.

    Re: Paps. I couldn’t be happier. Although I must say that I’m thrilled he and the team did their due diligence beforehand.

    Curt, you ever check out Soxaholix? I’m “Bob” over there (and in real life), and think you’d love it. H.B. has a take on the team unlike any other.

  164. March 23, 2007 3:44 pm

    Also, have any of the other guys shown any interest in starting a blog of their own? Or perhaps guest spots on 38pitches? I guess what I’m getting at is this…will there be a 24Hits blog in our future?

    Stay healthy this year, you and Matt Cain are anchoring my fantasy staff.

  165. sinasdf permalink
    March 23, 2007 4:19 pm

    Jays fan here. Glad to see a very unbiased blog.

    As far as I understand you spend a lot of time on the computer playing or blogging. Do you have any concerns of creating any kind of strain on your neck, or back, or even developing sore wrists (carpal tunnel)?

    Also, do you think the Jays are just as important to watch out for when compared to the Yankees? I know there are pitching concerns, but the offense is definitely one of our strongest it has ever been.

  166. larryscottsdale permalink
    March 23, 2007 4:23 pm

    1. From back in Novemeber, I never had a doubt that Paplebon would wind up as the closer and said so many times. Just who else would have fiiled the closer role? Exactly….
    2. No team can be expected to compete without a bonafide closer.
    3. Tavarez had a bad year in 2006. Yet, once inserted into the rotation his September was downright decent.
    4. Curt: I pass your old High School on Shea every week…..
    5. Happy you sold your home. What was with the “glove” painted on the floor of the pool?
    6. If Curt has a good year in 2007, the HOF debate will get louder.

  167. larryscottsdale permalink
    March 23, 2007 4:30 pm

    Or was it an infield diamond?

  168. sonomasox permalink
    March 23, 2007 4:59 pm

    Curt –

    Wondering if you checked out Mnookin’s blog today…

    http://sethmnookin.com/blog/

    Can you add to the craziness/absurdity that might or did go into the analysis ie. PECOTA, VORP, etc.

    Also, anything to the idea over at Bradford’s blog that Paps in the rotation helped w/ Matsuzaka’s negotiations and now with him back in the pen it helps your contractual clause.

    Hope your pitching out in Oakland in June – can’t afford tickets when I come home. Have to see you guys on the road!

  169. steeda432 permalink
    March 23, 2007 5:18 pm

    Curt,
    I am definetly coming for Dice-K’s first home game. However, I have heard different stories about when his most likely first start at Fenway will be. Now I am hearing Wednesday April 11th vs. Mariners as the most likely option if nothing changes in the rotation. Do you know if that date is accurate?
    Thanks,
    Jim

  170. schillsfanintoledo permalink
    March 23, 2007 5:23 pm

    hello curt…first of all let me just say i may be the biggest red sox fan in toledo ohio…i just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued charity work with als… i was very very close to my grandfather, and he unfortunately passed away from “lou gehrigs disease” and he meant the world to me, and i cant express how thankful i am that you are so beyond dedicated to als charity work…i got your autograph outside of comerica park in detroit in july of 05, and i havent moved the ball off of my fireplace since, and it sits right beside a picture of my late grandfather, i keep it there as a reminder that no matter how big a celebrity you are, you take the time to give so generously to people just like my grandfather. you playing for my favorite team is just a perk, ill follow the rest of your career with great appreciation, and i hope youll retire in boston…thank you for making a difference, i know my grandfather would appreciate it…god bless you curt, and i hope you have a great 07 season, and bring another title to boston…and when you play in detroit this year, just know that somewhere in that stadium ill be there watching you play and reminiscing of my grandfather the whole time just like he was sitting right beside me…thank you again, it is appreciated

  171. wjmcgil permalink
    March 23, 2007 5:50 pm

    Great site Mr. Schilling! Some questions on Pap’s move to the pen. Does this move give the Sox the leg up for negotiaitions when Pap’s is a free agent? As a starter he can go 10-8 (I personally think he’d do a lot better) and demand a boat load of money. If all he has done is be a closer, and even a successful one, he’s a closer with an undetermined shoulder injury that due to the demands of the role could come back at any time. That gives Pap’s much less to negotiate with in free agency. Is the Sox Brass taking advantage of his current low salary and looming free agency, as well as Pap’s being too much of a team guy in this case? This is going down a slippery slope that could end his career early with his shoulder problem or at best cost him a lot of money when negotiating. Paps is a grade A starter, they know it and I feel like they’re sticking it to him regardless of the Team “needs”. I’m surprised his agent hasn’t set him straight and said starter or bust. This kid has earned a big pay day and it seems like the Sox are setting him up for another “discount”. Jeez I’m not usually this jaded I promise.

  172. jviner4 permalink
    March 23, 2007 6:26 pm

    Curt,

    Thanks for sharing this information but I don’t think the original reason his shoulder gave out to begin with has ever really been discussed. Oh everyone would like you to believe it was do to overuse. That’s too patt an answer. I think the trouble can be traced back further. There is evidence periodically shown on NESN to support the truth: The Strawberry Shortcake Backpack is too heavy and Jonny Paps should really think about ditching it. He’s not a rookie anymore; he can afford to at least purchase a newer, ergonomically designed pack. Or if it’s necessary, I volunteer to carry Miss Shortcake to the pen for him. Problem solved!

    All kidding aside, working out the conditions that led to the tear and minimizing them, he will be the power that he was at the height of last season. It would still be nice to see someone to spell him once in awhile so that he doesn’t have to work more then two to three games per week.

    Jim

    PS Off the subject, I think your bloody sock should have been the #1 moment in Red Sox history as presented by NESN.

  173. jgulko permalink
    March 23, 2007 7:19 pm

    Curt, I have read that you had over 500,000 hits on your site in the first 11 days. that is amazing and worth congratulations. You have also said that you do not support the MLB/DirecTV Deal. While I know it is hard for you to join a fan coalition because it puts you in a sticky position with the league, I would like to ask you to post the link to a petition started by loyal fans of the game so that your audience can make sure their voices are hears. The link to the petition is http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/MLBDIRECTTVDEALISBAD

    Thanks Curt.

  174. March 24, 2007 3:45 am

    Curt, when Pineiro was signed, some fuffle was made about his contract being heavily-incented based on the number of games he FINISHED.

    I believe this is the reason that early in the spring, while management was saying the closer situation was fluid, Joel was talking as if it was his job.

    So while it might not be a pure baseball question, how accurate is the above conjecture, and if it’s at all close, how on earth does Joel FEEL right now?

  175. jeff555 permalink
    March 24, 2007 10:35 am

    As a Red Sox fan i’m thrilled at Paps return to the closers roll as long as
    he can stay healthy and it doesn’t hurt him in the long run …
    Tavarez didn’t do to bad as a started when given the oportunity last year
    and if all people can do is worry about the 5th starter i’d say we’re in pretty good shape

  176. drewdmat permalink
    March 24, 2007 12:02 pm

    It seems to me that Paps doesn’t have the medical knowledge to decide if he should close. His heart might be in the right place but I remember the team Doctors saying that closing won’t give his shoulder the recovery time it needs. It would be a shame to jeopardize his young career for selfish reasons.

    Drew

  177. sezshrimp permalink
    March 24, 2007 2:42 pm

    Let’s hope the Sox starters can go deep into games…I’d love to see DiceK throw a few CGs as well. Paps will probably be micromanaged this season, as well he should be. Nobody wants a repeat of 2006. Who knows, maybe Hansen will develop into the 2008 closer, and Paps can then join the rotation.

  178. fredsox permalink
    March 25, 2007 12:37 pm

    First and foremost, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to C.S. for allowing a fan into a pitchers inner thoughts and feelings about the game. It gives me me a whole new perspective into the psyche and what it truly takes to perform at the highest level in major league sport.
    Now, onto Paps and his role. I don’t understand how Red Sox fans could question what a pitchers desire and what he knows his true role in his career could be. This is not just a good move for Paps but for the rest of the Sox rfelief staff who now know their place ( long, short, 2nd closer). Please, please Red Sox fans stop being so nearsighted and realize that not only is the season VERY long but, the Sox brass are also constantly thinking about the future of the club ( ala C.S in his last year with the Sox god forbid). What this move does is sets a Mariano Rivera type of pitcher in the Sox organization for the next.. oh lets say 6 years at a minimum. What price is that? Then it also gives people like a Jon Lester, Devern Hansack ( who I am very impressed with) and Hanson a chance to compete for that 5th starting rotation spot left vacant. It also gives Julian Tavarez a chance to show what kind of pitcher HE is when given the trust and confidence of the Red Sox brass. In the next 5 years these pitchers along with Dice and Josh Beckett will BE the starting staff of the Sox ( and Wake, who I see pitching into his late 60s perhaps his early 70’s) so, placing Paps in his role creates a domino effect for the future of the Sox. So in closing I say bravo to Mr Papelbon for knowing what he wants and not afraid of asking for it! A lesson for us all to digest. And bravo to the Red Sox front office for LISTENING and their great insight for letting the staff work where they will be the MOST effective for their career and the betterment of the team.

  179. rdsxnation67 permalink
    March 26, 2007 6:29 am

    Paps was not the only one in The Nation who could not get any sleep this spring because of this. Saying he wants to meet or exceed what Mariano Rivera has done for the past ten years is a pretty lofty goal, but we will see what happens.

  180. champsin04 permalink
    March 27, 2007 2:45 pm

    I can’t describe how happy I was when I heard that this move was made. The Red Sox are building a solid foundation to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Two studs in Matsuzaka and Beckett anchoring the rotation, and Papelbon the sure thing in the closer’s role. I am in love with this move.

  181. montana4life permalink
    April 4, 2007 12:12 am

    I watch Pap pitch against the angels (in anaheim) in 2005 truly amazing I think he pitched into the 8th.

  182. dfr07 permalink
    April 5, 2007 9:42 pm

    Curt, way to go. Finally a player who says what they think and not just what everyone wants to here. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  183. jakev permalink
    April 7, 2007 4:50 pm

    Curt
    you say that you want to be a free agent at the end of the season what team are you looking to join? and would you think of going back to the phillies if the offered?

  184. buzzy260 permalink
    July 25, 2007 11:53 pm

    Dear Mr. Schilling,

    I am a 13 yr. old baseball guy. My name is Luke. I recently read your article that was all over yahoo about your speaking out about Bonds and McGwire. I want to thank you for being man enough for speaking out. I have said what you said for a long time and i think that its great that someone like you (a role model to me) would stand out against steriods. I admire you in many ways and hope that you actually read this and possibly reply to me. Keep up the good work and GO RED SOX!

    Luke

  185. fanofbaseball permalink
    October 30, 2007 1:51 pm

    I really think the Indians could of swept the Rocks also….. I mean they almost beat the sox and they had a young team also GO TRIBE !!!! Curt
    you will be a success in wherever you go and whatever you do especially
    if you end up back in Philly. Go back and help out the team prove your not all about money take a contract and donate it to the children starving in Darfur you will not regret it you will be even more blessed and so will your family. Curt you are the man that can help change the world look up too Mr. B. Edwards who has helped poor kids in Cleveland with scholarships make one big step for all don’t try to be greedy like a rod will.

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