Jonathan Papelbon can’t make up his mind. First he was a closer, but he got hurt at the end of the year. So he decided he’d be better off as a starter (that way he’d have more time to rest in between starts). It made sense. After all, he was a starter in the minors. Starting was what came naturally to him. He wanted to be a starter.
“I just feel I’m better as a starter,” he said. “The reason why this team drafted me in ’04 was to be a starter. I’m going to take this opportunity and run with it.”
That’s what he told the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan on March 4. That was three weeks ago.
Yesterday, Papelbon volunteered to move back to Boston’s bullpen. In fact, he says he wants to pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of his career.
So what changed?
Truthfully, I don’t know. But everything that we know about Papelbon is that he’s a competitor. And nobody has anything bad to say about him. So at this point I’m willing to believe the he simply saw the team’s need for a reliable closer and volunteered for the job.
After all, Papelbon is a badass. He even went so far as to adopt the Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn haircut last season. He had a stealth fighter ERA (barely detectable). So let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.
Do I believe he’s rather be closing than starting? No. Do I believe he wants to close for the rest of his career? No.
But do I think Papelbon is a team player? Absolutely. Actually, I think I’ve got a Papelboner.