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Source: Jonathan Papelbon headed to Phillies (as long as he passes his physical)

11.11.11 at 3:22 pm ET
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According to a major league source, free agent closer Jonathan Papelbon has agreed to a four-year deal worth $50 million with a vesting option that could advance the contract to upwards of $60 million. CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury was first to report the agreement.

The deal is pending a physical, which is scheduled to take place at some point next eweek.

The move comes after reports earlier in the week that Ryan Madson had agreed to a four-year deal worth $44 million, with a $13 million vesting option, to remain in Philadelphia, pending approval of team president David Montgomery. But in recent days that report had been debunked by the Phillies, keeping the door open for Papelbon to join Philadelphia.

The four-year deal for Papelbon marks the first such contract of that length for a closer since Joe Nathan and Francisco Cordero signed deals for four years prior to the 2008 season. (See Alex Speier’s column on closers’ contracts by clicking here.) The most money ever allocated to a closer prior to the reported Papelbon deal was $47 million, given to Nathan (4 years) and B.J. Ryan (5 years). The highest annual average given to a closer was the $15 million per season the Yankees allocated to Mariano Rivera on two separate occasions.

After the season, Papelbon talked to WEEI.com about his priority when signing with a team in the offseason:

“It really truly isn’t all about the money. It’s just not,” he said from his Mississippi home. “I’m going to a place where I know I’m going to succeed. I’m going to a place where I know I have a chance to win a championship. I’m going to a place where I know that my family is going to be safe, my family is going to like the environment, and everything else that goes along with off-field stuff. That’s what I’m looking at.

“If it was all about the money I would have said starting six years ago. If it was all about the money, I would have stayed starting, gone out, pitched my six innings, got a quality start and called it a day. For me it’s more about going to a place I can thrive, have fun and enjoy what I’m doing, and win. That’s it really.”

(For the complete Oct. 11 story of Papelbon talking about free agency, click here.)

Check back for more updates ….

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