Boston Red Sox: Jonathan Papelbon’s 24 hours

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 27: Relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates getting the last out against the Baltimore Orioles during the Red Sox 8-7 win at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 27, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 27: Relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates getting the last out against the Baltimore Orioles during the Red Sox 8-7 win at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 27, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Back in 2016, former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon said he was 24 hours away from signing with a team. We’re still waiting for that day.

There was a time when former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was one of the best best relievers in the game. A six time All Star, he recorded over 30 saves eight times in his 12 years in the majors, typically serving as a dependable option in the ninth inning. For years, he was the type of closer that teams would dream of.

That all came to an end in 2016. Then the Nationals closer, Papelbon had been solid at the start of the season, but as the year wore on, his effectiveness came to an end. Washington acquired Mark Melancon to handle the ninth inning, the writing on the wall when it came to Papelbon’s tenure. He would be released on August 13, making just two appearances in a mop up role after Melancon was acquired.

For his part, Papelbon was intent on pitching again. In fact, just three days later, he was reportedly 24 hours away from selecting his next team, as he had “strong interest” from several clubs. Those 24 hours turned into 48, and then a week, and a month, and so on.

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That interest just never materialized. Papelbon was unable to generate any interest that offseason either, as he remained without a team for 2017. While he has yet to officially retire, it has been over four years since Papelbon was infamously about to sign with a new team.

In the end, he really has himself to blame. Papelbon had a solid track record, notching 368 career saves with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.043 WHiP, striking out 808 batters with 185 walks in his 725.2 innings. However, he was considered a hothead, and the incident where he choked Bryce Harper in the dugout to end the 2015 season was fresh in everyone’s minds.

At this point, Papelbon is just a year away from theoretically appearing on a Hall of Fame ballot. He is not likely to be inducted, as he ranks below the likes of Jeff Fassero and Bob Stanley on the career JAWS leaderboard. That decision is never going to come at this point.

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Former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was supposed to be 24 hours away from selecting a new team. Now, over four years later, he is still waiting for the telephone to ring with a team looking to give him a chance.