If you watched last night’s game, you saw Papelbon’s velocity continues to drop. I believe his first pitch was 88 and the second 89. I believe they were fastballs. He did get the velocity up to 91, but that is still not great for a closer. Ricky Bottalico even spoke about it on the post-game show. He said how Papelbon is throwing more breaking stuff and less splits. His theory was that a split-fingered fastball can drain velocity from your regular fastball. I’ve never heard that one before. More likely it’s because he knows his fastball is not fast anymore. Heck, he could be more like Jamie Moyer than Halladay right now. Maybe since he hasn’t pitched in a while, it has affected his velocity, but as we’ve all seen, the trend is downward, and that’s not good. It’s not like he has some great slider or changeup. If Papelbon can’t be moved (and he probably can’t unless you pay all of his salary, don’t get any players in return, and then promise to be the other GM’s butler for a month) then I wouldn’t be shocked if at some point next season he is taken out of the closer spot. I know he salary would be crazy for a regular bullpen guy (as if it wasn’t crazy already), but it could happen, in my opinion especially if he blows a lot of saves.