Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was one of the early arrivals to spring training this year. He’s got a fat new contract of $12 million in his last arbitration contract before hitting free agency.

Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon reacts after striking out Baltimore Orioles batter Josh Bell for the last out of the game in the ninth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Baltimore, Maryland September 2, 2010. He’s got former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks down there in the bullpen with him. With Jenks under contract for 2012 and Daniel Bard waiting in the wings, it would appear the writing is on the wall that this could be the last season we see the outgoing closer in a Red Sox uniform.

He’s coming off a season where he was 5-7 with a 3.90 ERA and 37 saves. But he did blow eight saves last year.

But as Papelbon tells Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, he’s not paid to think.

“They don’t pay me to think,” Papelbon said here Monday morning, one of the early arrivals in camp. “If I’m a thinker, then I’m not a closer. That’s the way I look at it, man. I don’t think, man, I just do. Sometimes that gets me into trouble.”

“I realize my situation,” he said. “I realize the possibilities that could and could not happen, and I accept them and I move on. I’ll go out and try and win a championship. When that’s all said and done, whatever happens, happens.”

This will definitely be an interesting season down in the Red Sox bullpen. With Jenks and Bard down there, you have to wonder if skipper Terry Francona will give them a chance if Paps blows one.

Hopefully with the improved offense and the other bullpen additions, Papelbon will be able to just go in and throw strikes and not have to think. It’s probably better for all of us here in Red Sox Nation if he didn’t.

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Photo credit: Reuters Pictures