Martone: Things I won't miss about Pap

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Martone: Things I won't miss about Pap

I wish I could say I'll miss him.

The steady-as-a-piston 30 saves a season? The structure he's brought to the Red Sox bullpen over the last six years? His goofiness? His general likeability? Yeah, I'll miss all that. And while this may get me kicked out of the Purists' Circle, I'll even miss those crashing opening notes of "I'm Shipping Up To Boston", which the Fenway audio crew would have playing within seconds of the third out in the bottom of the eighth.

Here's what I won't miss about Jonathan Papelbon:

The interminable delays as he stood there on the rubber, staring in, his cap pulled down to eyebrow level, shaking off his catcher, shaking him off, shaking him off, until finally the poor sap would call time and trot out there for a three-second conversation. (I could never figure it. What can you say in three seconds other than "Fastball" or "cutter" or "slider"? How was that not one of the signs?) The just-as-interminable number of foul balls, as hitters managed to spoil one pitch after another. Which would, inevitably, lead to baserunners, sometimes more than one. He would succeed (far) more often than not, but those soul-draining, enthusiasm-sucking, 26-pitches-in-24-minutes innings . . . they'd take something out of you.

I'm not much for form over content, generally, but there was something about Papelbon's lack of artistry that just wore on me over the years. He'd drag the game to a halt, right at the time when the tension and excitement should be its peak, and it bothered me. (Let me back in, Purists!) Especially when compared to the android-like efficiency of Mariano Rivera, who could do the same job in one-third the time with one-fourth the number of pitches.

And I've been around long enough to know that -- while you're screwed if you have a bad closer -- you don't need a great one to survive. Some teams use a different one every year, usually for financial reasons, and do just fine. (Hello there, Joe Maddon.) If Ben Cherington declined to match what appears to be an overly generous proposal from the Phillies, I can't say I blame him.

Don't get me wrong; I liked Pap. How could you not? He was the closer in a glorious period in Red Sox history, and I'll always remember him fondly.

But not having to watch him night after night anymore . . . not shedding any tears over that.

Curran: To gauge Patriots' plans for Jimmy G, look to Brissett

Curran: To gauge Patriots' plans for Jimmy G, look to Brissett

When trying to figure out what the Patriots will ultimately do with Jimmy Garoppolo, forget about the speculation and instead focus on the little things the team does. 

Like how they are tending to Jacoby Brissett. 

After having thumb surgery on Oct. 7, Brissett was put on IR. But the team used its one "Get off of IR free card" on Brissett and he's been practicing with the team for the past couple of weeks while not taking up a roster spot. 

That alone isn't compelling evidence that he's the backup-in-waiting and Garoppolo's about to be packed up and shipped out, argued my compadre, Senator Phil Perry. The team had no other players on IR that they could use the designation on at the time. Why not use it on Brissett?

Prior to that, though, we've seen Brissett accompanying the team to away games including the cross-country junket to San Francisco. A reason? Since the Patriots played three straight at Gillette at the start of the season when Brissett was the direct backup to Garoppolo, he didn't get a good look at the road operation and the tempo of being the visiting team. How things work on flights, in meetings, at opposing stadiums and on the sidelines is worth getting a promising young players' eyes on. Also, getting his offensive teammates used to having him around is probably an even bigger benefit. It's not unprecedented to have IR players travel but its not conventional practice either. 

With so many quarterback-needy teams around the league, Garoppolo is perhaps the most attractive option out there. By the end of this year, he will have apprenticed three seasons behind the best quarterback of all-time in a sophisticated offense for a program that's as demanding as any in the league. In the 10 quarters he was able to play as a starter in place of Tom Brady, he was sensational.

He got hurt and that's not great. But any team making a deal for him that has concerns about his durability can take him for a spin for one season. Garoppolo is on the books for $825K in 2017 and then his contract is up. The team that dealt for him can franchise him if they need another season to think on it. 

I don't think the Patriots are itching to move Garoppolo. They know they are sitting comfortably with a stack of the most valuable commodity in the sport -- good quarterbacks (or at least one great one and two promising ones) - piled in front of them. They can let the game come to them. 

If it does, as former Patriots executive and Bill Belichick consigliere Mike Lombardi thinks it will, the Patriots can rest easy dealing Garoppolo knowing that they already did advance work getting Brissett up to speed.