Jonathan Papelbon is officially the newest member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The closer agreed to terms with his new team on Friday before officially signing his four-year, $50 million contract Monday.
Actually, strike that: his new contract is worth $50,000,058. The extra $58 references his uniform number as well as his self-appointed nickname, "Cinco Ocho." Papelbon wore No. 58 his entire career with the Red Sox and will inherit it from Antonio Bastardo with the Phillies.
Papelbon's departure from Boston surprised a lot of Red Sox fans, but he said during his introductory press conference that he wanted to make a quick decision.
"The Phillies showed they were interested in me and I wanted to make this decision quick and get it over with," he said, according to the Associated Press. "I didn't want to sit there and debate on whether I go back to Boston.
"My agents called me every day with what could happen. One day I finally called them and said, `Listen, I want to go play for the Phillies. Let's make it happen.' They called me two days later and made it happen."
At first it looked like the Phillies might re-sign Ryan Madson, but they quickly recovered when that deal fell through. "He is among the elite closers in the game and someone who clearly has a passion to win," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
Amaro generally shies away from giving pitchers long-term deals, but he felt Papelbon was worth the risk.
"Four years is a little uncomfortable, but on a player like this and a person who has had this pedigree and this background and success, sometimes you go the extra mile to do that," Amaro said. "We felt he was the right guy to take a risk on."
Papelbon has 219 career saves, with at least 31 saves every season since taking over Boston's full-time closer role in 2006.