The Boston Red Sox were plagued with injuries throughout the 2010 season.

Beckett, Pedroia, Youkilis, Martinez, Varitek, and the list goes on and on.  But one factor that remained constant throughout this season was closer Jonathan Papelbon.

For somebody who claimed they had never trained harder in their life after last season’s postseason ninth-inning blow-up, I don’t believe it for a second.

Papelbon has just been terrible this year.  For someone who is making over $6 million as a closer he has just been a tremendous letdown.  To think this team is going to win 90 games with all the injuries and inconsistencies is unbelievable.

Johnny Pap has blown eight saves this year and there is still a weekend series with the Yankees left.  The biggest problem with Papelbon this season has been his inability to go to a second pitch.  As a closer you can’t go out on the mound and think a mid 90s fastball is going to get the job done.

His demeanor and facial expression seems that he has is not the same fun-loving Irish step-dancing guy that won a World Series in 2007.  I guess a lot can change in three years’ time.

Moving on to next season, Papelbon is due to make over $9 million.  An absurd amount of money for someone who is going to be 30 and is on pace to set career highs in era, whip, runs allowed, and blown saves.  In my mind, Papelbon was the biggest letdown of this Red Sox team.

It’s a simple as this, Papelbon has to go.  Unless he drastically improves over this offseason the Red Sox front office should try and trade him.  Who knows what team would want to pick up that salary, otherwise the Sox are going to have to deal with another year of him as their closer.

The Red Sox have young arms waiting in the wings headlined by Daniel Bard and Michael Bowden.  Bard has already proved to be an asset to the Red Sox bullpen and his numbers are only improving.

Bard ranks first in holds in the American league and his era is two runs lower than Papelbon.  He is also five years younger then Papelbon and is a much more cost-efficient option right now.  I also love his 100 mph fastball and the way he goes about pitching is all-business.

There’s a lot of upside for the Red Sox and Daniel Bard.  As long as Jonathan Papelbon is still there the job will not be in his possession.  If not next year, then after next season, Daniel Bard will be holding down the closer position in Boston for a long time.

Papelbon can’t have another season like he did this year or nobody is going to want to pay him.  He needs to improve or the only team that is going to pay him on the open market is the Yankees. 

That’s still a full season away.  There is a lot of animosity toward Papelbon these days in Boston.  That’s because he was a full-blown disaster this season.

For that very reason the Boston Red Sox will miss the postseason for the first time since 2006.

Read more MLB news on