Former Mets general manager and current ESPN analyst Steve Phillips, during a visit with the Dennis & Callahan show on Tuesday morning, said that he expects the Red Sox to dangle closer Jonathan Papelbon in the trade market, and that he believes the Sox should use the hurler as a chip. In an offseason when the free agent market is regarded as weak, Phillips suggested that the Sox' best avenue to improve their team for 2010 is to use Papelbon to try to acquire an impact player via trade.
"I think if Papelbon is available, and I think he will be, I think there will be a significant market for him and teams will really step up," Phillips said. "When you look at the Bobby Jenkses of the world who might be available via trade, and guys like that, Fernando Rodney is a free agent, Papelbon stands out as a difference-maker. If I’m the Red Sox, I look at the arm that [Daniel] Bard has. They know his stomach better than anybody. I know they see that at some point he’s a closer. I take that shot. I trade Papelbon, take that money, re-invest it somewhere else, and really, instead of dip in the free agent market — which is not a great free agent market this year — utilize a trade to be able to really impact [the team]. I think it’s critical."
To listen to the complete interview, including Phillips' analysis of the merits of signing free agents Jason Bay or Matt Holliday and possible trade targets of the Red Sox this winter, click here .