A hot-off-the-presses look at the pros and cons of signing Jonathan Papelbon over Ryan Madson:
Pros: Papelbon is much more experienced than Madson, as the former Red Sox closer has more than four times as many saves as Madson over his career. ... Madson's 2011 season was his "breakout season" with 32 saves, but Papelbon already has seasons with 35, 37, 37, 38 and 41 saves, not to mention 31 this past year. ... Papelbon turns 31 later this month, while Madson turned 31 over the summer. ... Whether you look at last season, the last three seasons, or their entire careers, Papelbon has a much higher K/IP than Madson. ...Papelbon has proven that he can close out games in October with a 1.00 ERA over 18 career playoff games. He has pitched 27 playoff innings and given up a run in exactly one of those.
Cons: The numbers aren't out yet, but Papelbon surely is going to cost more than Madson, even though the Phils' closer had better numbers last season and they're basically the same age. ... Papelbon, among many other players, couldn't get it done in September this year as the Red Sox suffered an epic collapse to miss out on the postseason. In his final four appearances - all must-wins for Boston - Papelbon was scored upon three times and blew two saves, including the nail-in-the-coffin on the season's final day. ... Madson was a personality in the Phils' locker room, and this could alter the team's chemistry. ... Papelbon relies heavily on his fastball, which likely will lose velocity over the course of the contract.
Verdict: God bless Madson for what he did for this organization. From a back-end-of-the-rotation starter to a solid reliever to an elite set-up man to a pretty darn good closer. But if the money is relatively equal and the choices are Jonathan Papelbon or Ryan Madson, I'll take Papelbon. Every time.