FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jonathan Papelbon thinks his $775,000 salary set a standard for how much pitchers with his experience should be paid.
The one-year contract he agreed to Thursday with the Boston Red Sox raised his salary from $425,500 last year, when he saved 37 games with a 1.85 ERA. He also saved three wins in the World Series sweep of Colorado.
"I'm pleased because I feel like I was able to somewhat set a precedent for pitchers to come," Papelbon said before Friday's game against the Minnesota Twins, one day after the deal was announced. "That was definitely one of my goals. I felt like the Red Sox were on board with me to do that. Now it's something I don't have to worry about and we can just move forward.
"I feel like the Red Sox were fair and I felt like I was fair."
Papelbon topped by $25,000 the previous mark for a reliever not eligible for arbitration, set by the Yankees' Mariano Rivera in 1998. Papelbon can earn an extra $25,000 if he makes his third straight All-Star team.
The 27-year-old right-hander will be eligible for arbitration after this season and can become a free agent after the 2011 World Series.
Papelbon said he felt he deserved a contract similar to the $900,000 deal Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard received last spring training after his MVP season. He also wanted to maintain a good relationship with the team that drafted him in the fourth round in 2003.
"You always want to get things done on a basis that you're not going to hurt anybody's feelings and still be able to go to work every day with each other," Papelbon said. "No feelings were hurt and I still feel like we can have that great relationship and carry it on into next year."
At this point he has little interest in discussing a multiyear contract even though he believes the club will raise the subject.
"Unless it's something that is very inviting, I don't think that I'll really take anything into consideration," Papelbon said. "I'm going to go out and play this year. More than likely, we'll figure that out at the end of the year."
The Red Sox announced Thursday that they had agreed to one-year contracts with their 18 unsigned players, including Papelbon. They include rookie of the year Dustin Pedroia ($457,000), center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury ($406,000) and left-handed starter Jon Lester ($421,500).
The team could have renewed contracts at a salary of its choosing for any players who did not agree to contracts.
"I don't think any team wants to renew guys," Papelbon said. "It just doesn't look good. I didn't want to renew, either. I want to help this organization look good and I want to help this organization go out there and win championships."