Every Red Sox fans worst nightmare may have just come true. In a recent interview on Sirus XM Radio, Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon said he would consider playing for the New York Yankees when his contract expires following the 2011 season.
Here are some quotes from Papelbon himself courtesy of WEEI.com.
The Red Sox closer says, "Anywhere is a possibility" when he becomes a free agent after the 2011 season. That includes closing for the Yankees.
"Not only The Bronx, but anywhere, I think anywhere is a possibility. You always have to keep that in the back of your mind because you can't just be one-sided and think that, 'Oh I'm going to be in a Red Sox uniform my entire career.' Because nowadays that is very, very rare.
"There's no question I would love to stay in a Boston Red Sox uniform, but I have to do what's best for me and play in an atmosphere where I'm wanted and play on a team where I'm wanted, and that's all I can really say about that, you know?"
Now Red Sox fans please take a deep breath.
Papelbon is still under contract until the 2011 season, which means he won't be a free agent for at least the next 2 ½ years.
However, unfortunately that should be right around the time Mariano Rivera is about ready to retire. As we have seen in the past (i.e. Johnny Damon) the Yankees have no problem entering enemy waters and stealing a rival solider.
In the long run I would expect Papelbon to resign with the Red Sox. This seems more of a friendly reminder to the organization, that it may soon be time for a raise.
Recently, the Red Sox have had great success in reaching contract extensions with existing players (i.e Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis) however, I would suspect that Papelbon may not be as willing to take a hometown discount. The Red Sox certainly will have to open up the wallet to assure Papelbon is a Red Sox for life.