Phillies, Madson deal on hold; door open for Papelbon?

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Phillies, Madson deal on hold; door open for Papelbon?

You knew the Jonathan Papelbon sweepstakes would get interesting at some point, didn't you?

The Phillies are in a similar position as the Sox, and all signs recently pointed to them re-signing their closer, Ryan Madson, and at a hefty price too.

But not so fast, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"Ryan Madson's future with the Phillies is once again in question after a deal that was in the works with his agent Scott Boras stalled before it reached the all-important signature stageA baseball source said Wednesday that the Phillies closer was ready to sign a four-year, 44 million deal with a fifth-year option at 13 million. But before it could be completed general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. needed to seek approval from team president David Montgomery."
If Montgomery does halt the deal, that would open the door for Papelbon to receive a similar offer from the Phillies -- one that would be a record high for a closer.

Papelbon has a career 2.33 ERA to go with 219 saves. He became the first player in MLB history to record six straight seasons of 30-plus saves, as he's been one of the most consistent closers since he entered the league.

For those reasons, if any closer is going to want a record-breaking contract, it's Papelbon.

Madson was strong for the Phillies last season, converting 32 saves and posting a 2.37 ERA in his first full season as a closer.

Key words there: First full season. If the Phillies are reportedly considering shelling out that type of dough for a closer with not much track record at the position, they'd do the same for Papelbon.

Would Ben Cherington match -- or beat -- the offer?

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”