FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Speaking to WEEI.com following his annual spring training meeting with the media, Jonathan Papelbon talked about how important the contract Rafael Soriano signed with the Yankees was, and how it might effect his mindset while potentially heading into free agency after 2011.
"That's the position I want to be in," Papelbon said regarding Soriano's positioning heading into the free agent market following the 2010 season. "When the season is all said and done this year, I want to be the No. 1 guy coming out, no question."
Soriano, perceived as the top reliever available on the open market in the offseason after notching an American League-best 45 saves with Tampa Bay, inked a three-year, $35 million deal with the Yankees to set-up Mariano Rivera. Papelbon did say that he was open to the idea of returning to the Red Sox next season, while saying he understood speculation this may his final year in Boston.
The Soriano deal, along with Rivera's two-year, $30 million contract, slowed down a downward trend for closers in terms of salaries. Papelbon, who avoided arbitration by inking a one-year, $12 million in Jan., could be fighting for the free agent dollars with closers Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton, Joe Nathan (club option for $12.5 million), Brad Lidge (club option for $12.5 million), and even Soriano, who has an opt-out clause after each of his first two seasons with New York.
"I don't know all the logistics of his deal, but it definitely has opened doors for a lot other people in this game," said Papelbon of Soriano. "I think it has opened a lot of things in the game, and that's a good thing for people to do.
"I'm excited. [Soriano] was one of the best in the game last year and people should realize that. If you're one of the best, you should be [paid] like one of the best."
Papelbon said that his goal heading into '11 is to put all doubts about his status as one of the game's closers to rest.
"I think that's my mindset this year," he said. "I understand there are a lot of doubters out there, and that's just natural, but I use that for fuel. That's just me. That's who I am."
When talking earlier to the collection of media at the team's minor-league training facility, Papelbon did stress that he wasn't planning on letting thoughts of free agency dictate his approach for the upcoming season.
“I think for the most part, guys like us, we will be fine," he said. "Is it human nature to think about those things? Of course it’s human nature. But to think about them and then sit there and dwell on them are two totally different things. Are we going to think about it? Of course. We’re humans. But to sit there and dwell on it and wonder is this going to happen, is that going to happen, I don’t think that will be the case.”
For more coverage from spring training, see the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.
FOXBORO — The Patriots will have their biggest challenge to date to remain perfect as they travel to Denver to take on the NFL’s top-ranked defense in the 8-2 Broncos Sunday night at Sports Authority Field.
We check in with head coach Bill Belichick on Patriots Monday for a look at all aspects of the win over the Bills, and a look ahead to the Broncos.
Dale, Michael and Jerry check in with Chandler Jones after the Pats moved to 10-0. Plus a special brief appearance by Damion Easley.
A quick game recap of Celtics 121-97 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
A 5-minute game recap of the Celtics 111-101 loss to the Nets
Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston joins the show to discuss the Celtics rotation, the possibility of Marcus Smart or Jae Crowder making an All-Defense team, as well as suggestions for improving Gino Time.
Red Sox Manager John Farrell joined the Hot Stove Show where he talked about how David Ortiz retirement is bittersweet, the outfield alignment for 2016, the Red Sox bullpen as it looks right now, and Hanley Ramirez off season training.
The Hot Stove Show this week discusses Red Sox possible pitching acquisitions and they talk with the clubs manager, John Farrell.
The stove is hot. Mut, Bradford and Tomase are talking about the reports of David Ortiz’ retirement announcement, as well as their thoughts on the trade the Red Sox made for closer Craig Kimbrel
DJ Bean and Ken Laird discuss the Bruins 3-2 OT win on Wednesday night in Detroit. Despite being outplayed for most of the game, Boston scored with less than two minutes left in regulation to tie the game 2-2 and went on for the OT victory.
DJ Bean and Ken Laird discuss the Bruins 4-3 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night at Air Canada Center.
DJ Bean and Ken Laird are live at TD Garden after the Bruins 2-0 win over Toronto on Saturday night. The guys discuss the first two-game home winning streak of the season and what it means.
Kirk needs his some baked ziti.
The top stories of the day.
We remember Tiger's Thanksgiving many years ago.
LB came in the studio in between segments, and got Christian in a funny mood. His abilities to pronounced foreign names was put to the test. For the most part, he failed.
Before Monday night's game against the Patriots, Rex Ryan invited Ray Lewis to give the Bills a pregame "pump-up" speech.
Glenn and Christian kick off the show playing some of the audio of Christian's call to a Vegan hotline last year around this time, and then the conversation turned to the importance of a 16-0 season now that big injuries have decimated the skill positions.
We close out the day with the best in sound
Today's 4@4 segment consisted of who we believe will be the next Patriot Inducted into Hall of Fame. We talk Rodney Harrison, Ty Law, Richard Seymour, and Randy Moss.
Dale, Michael and Jerry speak to Peter King of MMQB/SI.
Mikey, Mut and Villani are talking about the NFL's version of a run-on sentence, Ray Lewis. More specifically his comments regarding Bill Belichick, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady, and Cam Newton.
Buck and Soog talk about Ronda Rousey's loss, the state of the UFC and favorite things about Thanksgiving.
Tim discussed the Pats 10-0 start.More from this show
Rodney Harrison, NBC Sports, joined the show to talk about last night's Patriots win, the inadvertent whistle, making officials accountable for mistakes, and Ray Lewis' ignorance about Bill Belichick.More from this show
Gene Steratore's crew had a rough time in Foxboro on Monday night, and the lowest moment came when an inadvertent whistle cost the Patriots a possible touchdown.More from this show
Danny Amendola went down last night with a knee injury last night. He'll get an MRI today, but in the meantime, the guys discuss who will have to step up as yet another skill position player gets injured.More from this show