Ryan Madson Rumors

AL Central Notes: Madson, Plouffe, Sano, Bonifacio

Last night we heard the the Indians have begun to schedule their arbitration hearings, with right-hander Vinnie Pestano's set to come on Friday and Josh Tomlin's set to come on Feb. 14. The team can still work out a deal with either pitcher between now and those dates, but hearings are becoming more likely each day. More AL Central news…

  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that the Twins are expected to be among the teams in attendance for Ryan Madson's showcase on Friday. The former Phillies closer hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2011 and has been connected to the Mets and the Phillies in recent weeks.
  • Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe isn't dreading the arrival of top prospect Miguel Sano, even though the 20-year-old Sano could take Plouffe's everyday job at third base, writes Dave Campbell of the Associated Press. Rather, Plouffe has befriended the Dominican slugger and looks forward to his arrival in Minnesota, even if it pushes Plouffe into a utility role: "I want to help the team win. That's all I really care about. Miguel is a great player, and if he comes up and helps our team, we want him. … If Sano's going to come up and help us, let's go."
  • Although recently DFA'ed Royals infielder Emilio Bonifacio's $3.5MM salary is "probably an overpay," Mike Petriello of Fangraphs feels that he could be an improvement to nearly half the teams in the Majors. Bonifacio's baserunning has been the eighth most valuable in the game dating back to 2010 despite having 1,000 or so fewer PAs than most ahead of him on the list, and he's able to back up at third base and center field in addition to playing a solid second base, Petriello argues.

Mets Still Pursuing Reliever With Closing Experience

7:23pm: While the Mets are indeed looking for a late-inning reliever, and could give out a MLB deal to get one, the club is unlikely to land Rodney, a source tells Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter). 

4:44pm: Though the Mets recently announced the signing of Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league deal, the team still has some money allotted for a "closer type" reliever, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin, citing a source that is not affiliated with the club.

Fernando Rodney is believed to be New York's top target, but Rubin's source wouldn't rule out Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan or Ryan Madson either. Other relievers on the market that come with closer experience include Carlos Marmol, Andrew Bailey and Brandon Lyon, though Lyon spent last season with the Mets with less than favorable results (4.98 ERA in 34 1/3 innings). Those next three names are just my speculation, not names that were mentioned by Rubin or his source.

Rubin writes that incumbent closer Bobby Parnell is confident that he will be healthy following surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. However, as Rubin points out, the Mets have little in terms of a fallback plan should Parnell go down with another injury. Hard-throwing Vic Black projects to be next in line for the closer's throne, and he has a total of 17 big league innings under his belt.

Quick Hits: Prospects, Cruz, Yoon, Madson, Baker

MLB.com's Jim Callis has an interesting breakdown of the dollars committed to the game's top prospects. Over $228MM has already been committed by teams to the prospects listed among MLB.com's top 100. Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Keith Law has released his own prospect rankings (Insider links), naming the Astros' system as the game's best and tabbing Byron Buxton of the Twins as the best overall prospect. In his own top 101 prospects list, Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus agrees with Buxton as the top choice, which certainly appears to be the consensus. And Baseball America has completed its listing of the ten best prospects by team.

Here are some more links from around the game:

  • The Twins are keeping tabs on free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, but are a long shot to land him. Minnesota is probably only interested if Cruz drops his price fairly significantly, Wolfson adds, guessing that the club would probably only be involved at two years with an average annual value at or below the $10MM mark.
  • Likewise, the Twins are waiting for the price to fall on South Korean hurler Suk-min Yoon, Wolfson reports (Twitter links). When Wolfson floated the number of two years and $10MM total to his source, he was told that cost was likely too steep for Minnesota.
  • Free agent reliever Ryan Madson plans to hold a full public workout on February 7th, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The 33-year-old threw yesterday for an unknown club that is reportedly a leading candidate to land him, Crasnick adds. 
  • Starter Scott Baker chose the Mariners over offers from the IndiansRangers, and Royals, reports Wolfson (via Twitter). The Twins never had interest in a reunion, Wolfson adds.
  • Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers were discussing a deal in the range of $200MM to $205MM over the summer, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. By waiting until he wrapped up a Cy Young campaign, Kershaw was able to secure a deal with a $215MM guarantee.

Minor Notes: Madson, Cust, Wells

Here's a roundup on players likely to sign minor-league contracts.

  • The Phillies, Red Sox and Royals are among the teams in on Ryan Madson, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets. Rosenthal also tweets, however, that Madson is unlikely to sign until after teams watch him pitch off a mound in February. Madson, who has struggled to return from elbow troubles, has not pitched in the big leagues since 2011, when he was with the Phillies.
  • DH Jack Cust worked out for the Orioles this week, but it's unclear whether the team wants to sign him, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. "It's still under consideration," executive vice president Dan Duquette says. Cust did not play in 2013, but he posted a .243/.400/.442 line at the Triple-A level in 2012.
  • Former Mariners and Padres reliever Jared Wells will work out for teams next week, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. Wells, 32, last pitched in the Majors in 2008. He played independent ball in 2013.

Phillies Considering Additional Depth Signings

After signing Ronny Cedeno to a minor league deal earlier today, the Phillies are weighing several other depth signings, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. An outfielder, left-handed bat, and starting and relief pitching are all being eyed by GM Ruben Amaro Jr., according to the report.

The club has considered bringing in veteran Lyle Overbay to add left-handed power, says Salisbury. In 486 plate appearances last season for the Yankees, appearing mostly at first, Overbay registered a .240/.295/.393 line and knocked 14 home runs, though he also struck out 111 times.

The Phils are also keen to add arms. "We're looking to add pitching depth in the bullpen and rotation, still trolling," said Amaro. "They'd likely be non-roster guys." Salisbury reports that Philadelphia has "kept tabs" on former closer Ryan Madson, and may decide to give him a look this spring. Madson has yet to throw a big league inning for another franchise due to elbow issues, though he has earned over $9MM from other clubs during the last two seasons. 

Another name that could be under consideration, according to Salisbury, is Chad Gaudin. The well-traveled 30-year-old, who has appeared for nine MLB teams over eleven seasons, put up a 3.06 ERA in 97 innings last year for the Giants. His primary attractieness to Philly would be his ability to work as a starter or out of the pen.

Mutual Interest Between Phillies, Ryan Madson

Though he's signed Major League contracts with the Reds and Angels in free agency over the past two offseasons, right-hander Ryan Madson has never thrown a pitch in the big leagues for a team other than the Phillies. That may not necessarily have to change this year, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that there's mutual interest from the two sides in a reunion.

Madson inked a one-year, $8.5MM deal with the Reds in the 2011-12 offseason but underwent Tommy John surgery that spring and missed the entire 2012 campaign. He turned around and signed a one-year, $3.5MM contract with the Angels last winter, but setbacks in his rehab continually pushed back his expected return date and ultimately led to his release.

Now 33 years old, Madson hasn't thrown a pitch for a Major League team since Oct. 7, 2011 — Game 5 of the NLDS. Madson punched out Daniel Descalso and Nick Punto in the ninth inning of a 1-0 loss (the Cardinals had taken the lead in the first inning). It seems impossible to think that Madson hasn't toed the rubber in a Major League game since that day, but that is indeed the case.

A return to Philadelphia would mean a return to the city in which Madson broke out as one of the game's best relievers. From 2007-11, Madson posted a 2.89 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 329 2/3 innings out of the Phils' bullpen, racking up 49 saves along the way, including 32 in 2011 — his lone season as the team's primary closer. Any negotiating will be handled by Damon Lapa and Scott Leventhal of All Bases Covered Sports Management, as Madson left the Boras Corporation this past October.

Madson could be looking at a minor league deal after missing the past two seasons. If he secures a Major League contract from a club, it figures to be heavily incentive-laden with a minimal guarantee — perhaps $1MM or so. He'd be a nice upside addition to a Phillies bullpen that likely still needs some help even after the acquisition of Brad Lincoln.

Within that same piece, Salisbury notes that John Mayberry Jr. remains "very much available" after being in play at the Winter Meetings. The Giants showed some interest at that time, he reports, but they've since signed Mike Morse. Salisbury believes that Mayberry was tendered a contract with the intention of trading him and notes that teams will keep an eye on him in Spring Training if he hasn't ben moved by that point.

Quick Hits: Rays, Kimbrel, Weeks, Kalish, Madson

Andrew Friedman doesn't think the Rays' search for a first baseman will last beyond another week, the club's executive VP told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times).  "There were some suggestions…of movement" between the Rays and James Loney on Thursday, Topkin reports, and Loney remains the Rays' top choice, though at less than his three-year, $27MM asking price.  If Loney signs elsewhere, Topkin expects the Rays to acquire a first baseman in a trade rather than in free agency.

Here are some more items from around baseball as we conclude the 2013 Winter Meetings…

  • This might be the optimal time for the Braves to trade Craig Kimbrel, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (Insider subscription required).  Kimbrel is about to get much more expensive now that he's eligible for arbitration, to the point that Kimbrel's incredible statistics "broke" the arbitration projection model used by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
  • Rumors connecting Rickie Weeks to the Blue Jays, Braves and Marlins during the Winter Meetings were all false, Brewers GM Doug Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Ryan Kalish "is in the final stages" of signing with a new team, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports.  Kalish was non-tendered by the Red Sox earlier this month.  The outfielder missed the entire 2013 season recovering from shoulder and neck surgeries.
  • Several teams, including the Red Sox, have been scouting right-hander Ryan Madson, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.  The Rockies were also recently linked to Madson, who has missed two full seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • ESPN's Paul Swydan (Insider subscription required) lists four teams who could be helped by the inexpensive additions of Kevin Youkilis, Brian Roberts, Johan Santana and Jeff Francis, respectively.  Swydan also wrote about how Clint Barmes could help the Mets, but Barmes re-signed with the Pirates earlier today.
  • Diamondbacks president/CEO Derrick Hall discussed his team's desire for a top starting pitcher, the recent Mark Trumbo deal and several other topics during a live chat with fans on MLB.com.
  • The Pirates, Orioles and Indians could be risking their recent success with their hesitation to spend, USA Today's Bob Nightengale opines.
  • Several team executives and scouts joined ESPN's Jayson Stark in listing the winners and losers of the offseason thus far, with a pair of teams (the Mariners and Yankees) somewhat in between, in the "winners with an asterisk" category.

Overnight Notes: Masterson, Twins, Rockies, Myers

Acknowledging that he'd listen to offers for anyone and everyone on his roster in the right scenario, Indians GM Chris Antonetti suggested it'd be difficult to move Justin Masterson, as Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer details. Antonetti declined to comment on the possibility of offering Masterson an extension, but added, "What I can say is how much we appreciate the contributions that Justin has made to our organization and we’d love for him to be an Indian long term."

Here are a few more overnight links from around MLB:

  • If Bronson Arroyo decides he wants to be in Minnesota, he'd be the Twins' top choice of their potential starting pitching targets, says Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter).
  • The Rockies have expressed interest in free agent reliever Ryan Madson, but remain more likely to trade for a bullpen arm than sign one, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
  • After missing most of last season, Brett Myers is healthy and is seeking a job this winter, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
  • The Diamondbacks' acquisition of Mark Trumbo is the latest example of how the team operates, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. As Piecoro points out, Arizona generally doesn't care about getting what the industry would consider "full value" for their trade chips.
  • The uncertainty surrounding Masahiro Tanaka continues to slow the pace of negotiations for the top starting pitchers already on the market, tweets Berardino.
  • A Monday report suggested another NPB starter, Kenta Maeda, could play for an MLB team as soon as 2015, but the latest word on Maeda indicates the right-hander might even be posted this winter. Ben Badler of Baseball America has the details.
  • Badler also writes that changes are coming to the limits on international spending in 2014, with MLB teams set to lose up to $300K in signing money that had previously been exempt from bonus pools.

Ryan Madson Changes Agents

Embattled right-hander Ryan Madson has left the Boras Corporation in favor of Damon Lapa and Scott Leventhal's All Bases Covered Sports Management, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).

It's been two years since Madson, who turned 33 in August, has thrown a Major League pitch. After nearly agreeing to a four-year deal to remain with the Phillies following the 2011 season, he found himself on the outside looking in as GM Ruben Amaro Jr. instead brought Jonathan Papelbon to Philadelphia. Madson would ultimately sign with the Reds on a one-year, $8.5MM guarantee, but Tommy John surgery that Spring caused him to miss the entire 2012 season.

Of the reported near-agreement, Boras told Crasnick in Jan. 2012 that they never rejected a four-year offer from Philadelphia, but rather told Amaro that they would agree to such a deal, and Amaro elected to go in a different direction. Likewise, Amaro said no agreement was ever reached.

Madson signed with the Angels for one year and $3.5MM this past offseason but persistent setbacks in his rehab prevented him from ever taking the field. He was released in early August and is currently a free agent.

Madson was a strong setup man for the Phillies from 2007-10, posting a 3.01 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 before taking over as the team's closer in place of Brad Lidge in 2011. In his lone full season as the team's stopper, Madson piled up 32 saves with a 2.37 ERA and a stellar 62-to-16 K/BB ratio in 60 2/3 innings. Even more impressive is that eight of those free passes were intentional, demonstrating how well he had honed his command over the years in Philadelphia.

Lapa and Leventhal represent a number of Major Leaguers, including Kevin Correia, David Robertson, Eric Chavez, Nate Schierholtz and Brian Dozier. Madson is the second notable free agent to switch representation in the past 24 hours, as outfielder Chris Young made the switch from CAA to Reynolds Sports Management last night.

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Angels Release Ryan Madson

The Angels have released reliever Ryan Madson, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports (on Twitter). Madson signed a one-year, $3.5MM deal with the Angels last November to bolster what turned out to be a weak bullpen. The investment didn't pay dividends, however, since Madson hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2011 — he spent all of 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery, and has not yet pitched in 2013, except in one May rehab appearance with Class A+ Inland Empire. Madson threw bullpen sessions in Arizona last month.

Madson has a 3.59 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 630 career innings pitched. He posted a 2.37 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 2011 with the Phillies.