Speaking after media session for managerial candidate Torey Lovullo at Fenway Park, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wouldn't confirm that he knew for certain that Jonathan Papelbon had reached an agreement with the Phillies for a four-year, $50 million offer with a vesting option for a fifth year. Cherington did, however, acknowledge, that the Sox hadn't made a formal offer to the closer throughout the offseason.
"We never made an offer, or haven't made an offer to this point. I've had a lot of discussions with [Papelbon's agents] Sam and Seth [Levinson] about concepts," Cherington said. "To this point it's been clear where we see it, what we would be willing to do at this point in the offseason, given what our other needs are and given what we feel the alternatives are, is not something that matched up with what Pap was looking for. Because of that we haven't made a formal offer. I've seen the news out there today and I it wouldn't surprise me if that happens.
"Pap has worked extremely hard to put himself in a position to go into free agency coming off a really successful season. We knew he was going to be in demand and we knew teams that were in position to win would have interest in him, and certainly Philly was one of them if that's where he ends up."
Cherington also confirmed that Papelbon's representatives didn't give the Red Sox a chance to match the offer made by the Phillies, although the GM suggested he didn't feel that was necessary.
"I don't think he owes a phone call back based on the conversations I've had with Sam and Seth," Cherington said. "We weren't going to be able to bridge that gap at this point in the offseason. We certainly wanted to leave the door open if we get deeper into the offseason and circumstances change for either side. At this point in the offseason, this early, there wasn't enough common ground so we didn't make an offer, and because of that it wouldn't be fair for them to come back to us."
Cherington also stated that the Red Sox wouldn't feel comfortable offering a four-year contract to a free agent closer at this point in the offseason due to the depth at the position in the market.
He also cited that because the Red Sox have some internal closing options, along with the free agent candidates, the landscape could be classified as a "bountiful closing market compared to some years." He later added, "We just felt like the focus right now would be on other areas of the team."
Cherington said that he has spoken to both Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard, saying that Aceves would come to spring training stretched out as a starter, while Bard's role is yet to be determined. The GM did say regarding Bard, "I think he would embrace more responsibility, and he's ready for more responsibility."
For more Red Sox news, to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
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