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New rules free Red Sox to go shopping

Compensation changes make decision to let Jonathan Papelbon walk look better

Updated: December 7, 2011, 8:39 AM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- So now we know with certainty the choice Ben Cherington had to make when faced with the prospect of losing Jonathan Papelbon:

1) Overspend for the best closer on the market.

2) Let Papelbon walk, collect two first-round draft picks, then sign a Heath Bell, Ryan Madson or Francisco Rodriguez without losing a pick or elect to go with in-house option Daniel Bard, and save anywhere from $10 million to $40-plus million.

Given those options, does it become ...

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