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.
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Jeff Goodman calls Mike and Rob to drop a ton of knowledge on the upcoming NBA Draft and some of the names available. Sorry fans - he doesn't see Kevin Durant or any big-named free agents coming to Boston and thinks they'll end up making the third pick this season. He also says that there is NO WAY he would trade next year's Brooklyn pick because the draft will be very deep. He discusses the chances of trading with Philly for Okafor, why he like Kris Dunn so much and much more.
Brad Stevens makes his first appearance on the Dale and Holley with Thornton show. We discuss the Atlanta series and what went wrong, and where the Celtics go from here.
Ian Thomsen of NBA.com joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss to discuss the next moves for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics with the NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching. They discussed the crazy ending to Game 2 of Thunder vs Spurs and picked the player they would build their pretend new franchise around.
Tim talks with Red Sox manager John Farrell before the Red Sox game against the Blue Jays. John talks about Clay Buchholz move to the bullpen and adjustments he expects him to have to make going from the starter to the bullpen.
Mut recaps the Sox 8-2 loss to the Rockies.
Joe and Tim are joined by the man of the hour, Wade Boggs, on the night where the Red Sox retired his number 26. Wade talks about his career in baseball and how it feels to have his number retired.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Lucy's parting shot after not taking the job is to attack Dino for how he treats producers.
Bernie Sanders wants to debate Trump.
Yaz was on hand at Fenway last night to honor the '86 team and Wade Boggs' number retirement.
Laroy Streat keeps setting fire to the airways and talks people singing his Freestyle Fridays to him when they see him on the street! Catch our guy every friday via final drive! He's must listen radio!
We end the week with the best in sound Laroy Streat continues to set fire to the airways with his music.
The guys talk Red Sox pitching and the problems that could arise with Buchholz struggles.
Jerry is joined by Graig Murphy to talk stand up comedy. Until Graig pretty much hijacks the podcast to tell his side of the "Big Show Unfiltered" story.
Ben and Russ preview the Champions League Final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. Who we want to win, who we think will win, and why. We also talk about our wishes for the USMNT.
The Dennis and Callahan malcontent is joined by former WEEI personality Pete Sheppard to talk about his past involvement with the station and his current gig in New Hampshire. You'll be glad to hear Pete hasn't changed one bit.
The producer search is over now that Paul and Ken have accepted the job. With their new found job security, they are free to bitch about working three A-holes, the Lucy charade, and the process behind getting the gig.More from this show