PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Welcome to the Phillies, Cinco Ocho.
The contract is the largest ever for a reliever, and it actually totals $50,000,058. The deal includes a vesting option for 2016 that could become guaranteed based on games finished and would make it worth $63 million over five seasons.
So what about that extra $58?
“You’ll have to ask Cinco Ocho that question,” Papelbon joked. “I can give you his phone number if you need it.”
Papelbon will wear No. 58, which belonged to lefty Antonio Bastardo last year. His nickname, of course, mimics Chad Ochocinco. The six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver legally changed his name from Chad Johnson to match his uniform No. 85.
The Phillies are counting on Papelbon to produce far more than Ochocinco has in New England this year. He has just 11 catches in his first season with the Patriots.
“He is among the elite closers in the game and someone who clearly has a passion to win,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
Papelbon, a four-time All-Star, turns 31 on Nov. 23. He had 219 saves over seven seasons with the Red Sox, including 31 this year, when he made $12 million. The right-hander helped Boston to the 2007 World Series title.
The Phillies have long been opposed to giving pitchers contracts beyond three years. They made an exception last year when they signed left-hander Cliff Lee to a $120 million, five-year deal.
“Four years is a little uncomfortable, but on a player like this and a person who has had this pedigree and this background and success, sometimes you go the extra mile to do that,” Amaro said. “We felt he was the right guy to take a risk on.”
“The Phillies showed they were interested in me and I wanted to make this decision quick and get it over with,” he said. “I didn’t want to sit there and debate on whether I go back to Boston.
“My agents called me every day with what could happen. One day I finally called them and said, `Listen, I want to go play for the Phillies. Let’s make it happen.’ They called me two days later and made it happen.”