Despite the previously cited reason of increased injury risk in the closing role, Jonathan Papelbon will resume his spot in the bullpen as the relief ace. None of the potential closers acquired in the offseason proved fit, and with Mike Timlin starting the season on the disabled list, Papelbon himself expressed his desire to once again close.
This thread on Sons of Sam Horn has Eric Van and Tangotiger extrapolating Papelbon’s relief numbers to starting statistics. Admittedly, the analysis doesn’t include how Papelbon may improve the starting pitchers he will bolster. With traffic cop Julian Tavarez currently being touted as the fifth starter and Jon Lester and Kyle Snyder also in the mix, any support that Papelbon can provide will be more than necessary.