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.
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe catch-up with former Sox GM Theo Epstein who is in town with the World Champion Cubs to take on the Sox this weekend.
We sit down with the manager of the Sox, John Farrell, for our weekly interview.
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.
Gerry and Kirk read some inspiring quotes from Tony Robbins and Curtis is all set to see the man himself in June.
Tony Robbins fans were sent to the hospital after getting injured walking over coals and Pat is a massive fan of Tony Robbins.
Gerry, Kirk and Arcand react to Brady getting into a business relationship with Tony Robbins.
Night 1 of the draft has passed and Jimmy Garoppolo is still here. The general consensus on the Bears was that they screwed up their draft. And Larry Bird is out in Indiana. Is there hope for Ordway's Paul George dream?
The offensive issues for this Red Sox team are becoming more and more obvious. We also react to our interview with Pedro Martinez.
Chris Sale basically took on Tanaka and the Yankees by himself last night. And the Sox hot corner of days past seem to be gone as far as third base goes.
Final two hours of Dale and Holley with Keefe for a Friday.
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss a variety of topics for the first two hours of Freestyle Friday.
We close out the week with another edition of the madness and LAROY!!!!!!!!!!! takes you into the weekend.
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Ben and Alex talk to Charlie Stillitano, the man responsible for the International Champions Cup. He has created tournaments for the biggest teams in the world to be played in the US every summer. This year he will bring Juventus and Roma to play in Foxboro on July 30th.
Ken and Chris have the Good Weekend recap of a Friday Christian Arcand edition of K&C.
It’s Day 1 of the NFL Draft tonight so Jim Hackett & Pete Davidson offer a little pre-draft fodder for you featuring the Top Tight Ends and Top Wide Receivers. It’s Day 1 of the draft so there’s a lot of focus on the Top Tier talent who you could see drafted tonight including analysis on OJ Howard, Evan Engram & David Njoku; all Tight Ends that could be drafted in tonight’s 1st Round – a rarity. The analysis deepens with more focus on the Top 10 Tight Ends including Jake Butt, Bucky Hodges and Jordan Leggett. Then the boys turn to the Top Wide Receivers, including John Ross, Corey Davis, Mike Williams and JuJu Smith-Shuster. We’ll see where these guys land tonight, but you can learn more and have a few laughs right now.
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