UPDATE: Rob Bradford of WEEI.com is reporting that the Sox and Papelbon have a deal in place for $9 million for 2010.
9:55 A.M.: Or else they’re going to arbitration. I’d bet on arbitration, as the Sox don’t seem all that interested in a long term deal, and Papelbon is reported to want to “raise the bar” for closers.
How high is that bar going to get set, in arbitration or otherwise? Hard to say. Bobby Jenks just signed for $7.5 million. Brian Fuentes is making $17.5 million over the next two years. Francisco Cordero, Joe Nathan, Brad Lidge and K-Rod are on deals averaging a bit above or a bit below $12 million. Above that you’re in Mariano Rivera land ($15 million).
Of course, given Papelbon’s general obliviousness, they could probably offer him a raise to, oh, $8 million and tell him that he’s making Mariano Rivera money. He just might believe it.