The blog universe got a bit carried away about an item that appeared in this space regarding the Sox closer situation, citing an interview I did with Theo Epstein that will appear on NESN tomorrow night. Another website took at face value a joke made by Sox chairman Tom Werner about the Sox already knowing who their closer was — IT WAS A JOKE, KIDS — and linking it to my interview with Theo, saying that Theo hinted Papelbon would be the closer.
Can I say this loud enough to be heard in cyberspace? That’s not what he said. Essentially, what he said was no different than we’ve been reporting for, oh, the last six weeks or so — going back to the Boston baseball writers dinner — that the Sox have not ruled out Papelbon as an option.
Here’s Theo’s quote from the NESN interview, which was in response to a question from me, in which I noted he’d stood behind Joel Pineiro in his first throwing session, whether he was reasonably sure someone would emerge to claim the closer’s job, and whether he would consider returning Papelbon to that role.
Theo: “We certainly hope a closer emerges from this group we have, either one of the veterans who have filled in when we needed it in the past, like a Timlin or one of the really talented relievers coming off a bad year, like a Romero or even a Donnelly who is coming off a subpar year for him, or one of the younger guys, like a Delcarmen or Hansen or even someone who may be targeted to start in the minor leagues. So hopefully, someone out of that group emerges. I hope I didn’t forget anyone, Julian Tavarez as well as Pineiro coming over, but if they don’t we have options. We have options internally, if Jon [Papelbon]’s shoulder progresses to a point we’re comfortable it makes sense overall in the scheme of this ballclub and his career. And then we have options outside of the organization as well. We can always pursue a trade. Yeah, it’s an unsettling feeling not to have that guy now. I think as that person emerges, we’ll all feel better.”