The December meetings are long over and Scott Borris’ client is still without a team. Ryan Madson, who was once referred to as one of the better relievers this offseason, was close to signing a $44-million dollar contract with the Phillies, but Ruben Amaro Jr opted Jonathan Papelbon to fill the void instead.
The almost deal with Philadelphia gave teams a sense of Madson’s asking price, but with the 31-year-old still unsigned that price is bound to come down.
Some believed the Red Sox would pursue the former Phillie, but after they traded for Andrew Bailey from the Athletics, their need for the Long Beach native was gone.
In his tenure in Philadelphia, the tall righty proved his worth as a closer and with saves being one thing General Managers love to pay for, he was ready for a big payday. But after the Red Sox exited the market so did any real chance of Madson signing for big money.
What does this mean for Madson?
This doesn’t mean all plots point towards death; he had 32 saves and a 2.37 ERA in his first season as a closer, he just picked an unfortunate time to enter free agency. Most teams have looked for already established relievers or cheaper fixes and Madson is neither of those. Heath Bell took his talents to South Beach, while the Padres replaced him with Houston Street. The Rangers named Joe Nathan their closer and the Mets gave their opening to Frank Francisco.
With the eight-year reliever avidly seeking a long-term deal, his chances are growing worse as each day passes. Sharing the market with little established veterans, Octavio Dotel, Francisco Cordero and Sergio Santos, have given teams options whether to pay big money for Madson or hire one of these older wildcards to a one-year deal.
With teams forcing his asking price to drop, just like Borris’ other client Prince Fielder, he is now playing the waiting game.
The most reasonable thing for him to do is to sign a one-year deal and be a short-term fix to a team waiting for a closer to develop. The Reds denied reaching out to Madson, but his playoff experience could have an influence on their young pen.
Many believe that the Angels are the front runner right now, but with the Rays, Astros and Orioles still in the race; his fate is anything but set in stone.
Madson was one of the few bright spots of Philly against the Cardinals and will bring stability to an unstable position. His power fastball and secondary pitches lead to high strike out totals, which will get a great reaction from fans.
I expect him to bite the bullet and sign a one year deal and pick up a nice payday next winter. But Borris was able to score Rafeal Soriano a three-year deal after the demand for closers were gone last winter.