Free Agent Stock Watch: Ryan Madson

A total of 17 relief pitchers signed multiyear deals last offseason and while there’s no guarantee that owners will spend just as freely this year, it won’t be surprising if they do. So with a number of closing jobs opening up around baseball, Ryan Madson’s job prospects are promising.

The 31-year-old right-hander has been consistently effective since returning to the bullpen in 2007, so agent Scott Boras will be able to point interested teams to an array of impressive stats. There’s Madson’s 2.63 ERA (supported by his 2.59 SIERA and 3.06 xFIP), his 94.1 mph fastball and his 31 saves. His peripheral stats are also strong – 0.33 HR/9, 9.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 50.7% ground ball rate – and he can handle hitters on both sides of the plate.

There's a line of thinking that opposes major commitments to relievers given the volatility of their stats from year to year and their limited ability to shape the outcome of a game or season (in relation to starting pitchers or position players). The era of four and five year deals for top closers may be over, but Boras can point to Madson's consistency in an attempt to obtain multiyear offers. The 6'6" Californian has kept his ERA at 3.26 or below, pitched at least 53 innings and struck out at least 6.9 batters per nine innings every season since 2007. 

Like Jonathan Papelbon, who will probably be the top free agent reliever of the year, Madson projects as a Type A free agent. Given the Phillies’ need for relief help and Madson’s current salary of $4.5MM, an offer of arbitration seems likely. Assuming Madson declines, he’ll cost teams other than the Phillies a top pick in next year’s draft, which will reduce some clubs’ interest.

A pair of MLB executives recently predicted to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that Madson will sign a deal like the one Jose Valverde obtained two winters ago: $14MM over two years plus an option (Valverde was a Type A free agent at the time). Madson seems destined for a multiyear deal and a three-year contract seems likely to me. Setup men such as Joaquin Benoit, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and Scott Downs found three-year deals last winter and Boras obtained $35MM over three years for Rafael Soriano. It's hard to imagine Madson signing for that much money, but some general managers and owners will probably be willing to guarantee Madson a third year for the promise of bullpen stability.


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16 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Ryan Madson"


3 years 11 months ago

I think the difference between Valverde and Madson is the fact that Valverde was already n established closer. I’m not sure if Madson will be able to find closer work 

moondog45
3 years 11 months ago

If he does it in the post season he will. He has been very good as a setup/closer for 4 years now with good post season work.

Andrew Jones
3 years 11 months ago

I think the Phils and Madson will find common ground. He gave them a bit
of a hometown discount before, and his type A status will scare some
teams off. As a Phillies fan I would be happy with 3 years/21 mil.

East Coast Bias
3 years 11 months ago

Your name is Andrew Jones. How in the world can you be a Phillies fan?!

dylanp5030
3 years 11 months ago

Because his nameisnt Andruw Jones.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 11 months ago

I could see Madson signing for 3 years $21 million. I think that would be a fair offer for both sides.

He’s been an elite set up man since 2008 and has proven this year he can be a dominant closer.

The Phillies could have the makings of a dominant bullpen with DeFratus, Aumont, and Savery on the way and Bastardo, Stutes, and Schwimer already in the show. I’d love to see Madson be the anchor of that possible bullpen.

East Coast Bias
3 years 11 months ago

Remember that Free_AEC guy who said Madson would get 3/45. haha good times. I know the regulars know what I’m talking about.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 11 months ago

I frequent another site he used to post at. I forget if he used to say Dave $$$$ Montgomery here too.

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

is that the one who said something about evan longoria punching andrew friedman to get out of his contract? i think it was

3 years 11 months ago

I have no idea who that guy is, BUT…..I do remember getting into a LOOOOONG debate with you back in February.

I said that Madson would get at least 3/$21, and you said I was dead wrong.  I cited WAR, Lidge’s deal, Madson’s consistency, etc..

You bashed Madson, downplayed his consistency, and said I was crazy for thinking he would get a contract like that.

But then it got fuzzy and they don’t remember that…….

East Coast Bias
3 years 11 months ago

……and I don’t remember you. (I’m probably the biggest Jay fan you’ll ever meet)

That argument was actually me arguing with Free_AEC that Madson will not get 3/45, and you may have got caught in the friendly fire afterwards. I’m no Madson fan, but 3/21 doesn’t seem out of reach.

East Coast Bias
3 years 11 months ago

Remember that Free_AEC guy who said Madson would get 3/45. haha good times. I know the regulars know what I’m talking about.

3 years 11 months ago

Madson might actually make some sense for the blue jays. He has the stuff and pedigree to close, but he might come with a much lower price tag then a Papelbon or Bell. 

Muggi
3 years 11 months ago

Agreed, which is why I expect the Phils to resign him.

3 years 11 months ago

Wouldn’t be surprised if the Phillies let him walk. Closers are fungible. No need to sink $7 million into the position if you have 2-3 young live arms that could do it for 1/10th that price.

dylanp5030
3 years 11 months ago

Hows Bastardo working out for us right now? Madson or a veteran closer is a vital part of the teams 2012 success. De Fratus, Aumont, or Bastardo is NOT the answer.