Jonathan Papelbon: Does He Have the Red Sox Right Where He Wants Them?

Patrick LanguzziContributor IIISeptember 14, 2011

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 31: Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after he struck out Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees to end the game on August 31, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees 9-5.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

If you're not worried about Daniel Bard yet, you should be.

For those of us who thought Daniel Bard was going to be "the closer in waiting" to Jonathan Papelbon's potential departure this offseason, think again.

Bard now has three blown saves and three losses in his last five appearances including Wednesday's crucial 5-4 matinee loss to the Toronto Blue Jays

In his first 180 major-league appearances, Bard had 11 blown saves, he now has three in the month of September and is sporting a 17.36 ERA to back it up along with eight losses.

Bard's eight losses ties him for the most by a relief pitcher in all of Major League Baseball.  

Papelbon, who is finishing out a one-year $12 million deal with the Red Sox, is said to be a free agent at the conclusion of the season. Speculation has led to rumors that the Red Sox might let Papelbon walk this offseason and move Bard in to the closing role.

Papelbon, who has 29 saves in 30 save appearances this season, hasn't given up an earned run in a save opportunity since July 6. To further that, his last blown save was way back on May 9 versus Minnesota, and his ERA is 2.61 in 58.2 innings pitched with 77 strikeouts and a 0.89 WHIP. He is four-time All-Star in seven years with 217 career saves (38th all-time) and a proven postseason pitcher, including a World Series ERA of 0.00 and three saves in three appearances.

What value right about now are you putting on a Jonathan Papelbon? 

Some say the Red Sox brought in Bobby Jenks for two years and $12 million to help support the bullpen as Bard moves in to the closer role. It's been an injury-filled season for the right-handed pitcher Jenks.

Jenks has been on the disabled list three times for a bicep strain and tightness in his back, he hasn’t pitched since July 7 and only has 19 appearances with a 6.32 ERA.

With plenty of money coming off the books this year, including J.D. Drew's $14 million, does Jonathan Papelbon have the Red Sox right where he wants them?