I have had a few days to let the Jonathan Paplebon signing sink in now and I am still not sure what to think. Paplebon is a proven closer and a 4-time All-Star. In 2011, he saved 31 out of 34 games for the Red Sox and posted a 2.94 ERA.
Both Paplebon and Ryan Madson are the same age and have similar stats with the big difference being experience as a closer. Paplebon has six years experience, Madson has just over a year all together.
Rumor has it that Madson was willing to take a 4-year, $44 million deal. The Phillies signed Paplebon for 4-years and $50 million. Madson would have been cheaper, theoretically, but Paplebon has the edge in experience.
My only concern is this: Madson seems to be on an up-swing with his stats improving over the past 3-years as he worked into the closer role. On the other hand, Paplebon had a horrid 2010 season, improving in 2011, but still nowhere near his All-Star numbers from 2006-2009. To me, this seems like a slight downward trend.