The Red Sox offered Jonathan Papelbon the security of a long-term contract several times in recent years. Several teammates embraced similar offers, but Papelbon preferred to gamble.

He went season to season, methodically making his way to free agency, knowing that poor performance or injury could cost him millions of dollars.

It paid off in the end for Papelbon, who yesterday agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Phillies on the richest contract for a relief pitcher in baseball history.

According to major league sources, Papelbon has a four-year deal worth $50 million with a vesting option for 2016 that would take the contract to more than $60 million. The contract is contingent on a physical that is scheduled for next week.