Ryan Madson Rumors

Angels Notes: Madson, Greinke, Morales, Callaspo

Earlier today, we learned the Angels are interested in Ryan Madson. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports the Angels are indeed in talks with Madson about a possible deal. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez adds, via Twitter, that GM Jerry Dipoto loves Madson, a Southern California native, and isn't afraid to take a chance on a closer coming off Tommy John surgery, as evident by last offseason's pursuit of Joe Nathan. Gonzalez also tweets any deal will probably be incentive-laden. Here are some more Angels notes from Gonzalez, who recently cleaned out in his inbox and answered emails from his readers:   

  • Gonzalez advances the idea the Angels may be better off not re-signing Zack Greinke. The argument goes since the Angels already have one ace in Jered Weaver, they will have more financial flexibility to fill the two holes they have in their rotation and to rebuild their bullpen, if Greinke signs elsewhere. Either way, the Angels are handcuffed until Greinke makes his decision.
  • The Yankees, Red Sox, and Braves will not be factors in the Greinke derby, but the Dodgers and Rangers could really mess up the Angels' plans.  
  • Free agency will be the Angels' best bet to fill their holes because they don't have much minor league talent to offer in trade.
  • Gonzalez would be shocked if Kendrys Morales is traded because he is viewed as a bargain in arbitration and is a crucial left-handed presence in a lineup that leans heavily to the right.
  • Look for Alberto Callaspo, who provides solid defense and draw walks, to man third base in 2013 with top prospect Kaleb Cowart taking over in 2014. 

Angels Interested In Ryan Madson

The Angels have interest in free agent closer Ryan Madson, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (via Twitter).  The Phillies reportedly have interest in the right-hander, but Salisbury says that a reunion doesn't seem likely.

The 32-year-old declined his half of a $11MM mutual option for 2013, opting instead for a $2.5MM buyout.  Madson missed the 2012 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery but a team willing to roll the dice could sign him with the hope that he will return to his 2009-2011 form.  Madson wants to close for a team in 2013, but he won't be ready to pitch when the season begins.

A return to Cincinnati could still be in the cards for Madson as well as GM Walt Jocketty confirmed that the two sides have talked.  The Reds are also exploring a return for Jonathan Broxton and have spoken with free agent Joakim Soria.

Jocketty Discusses Reds Offseason Rumors

Reds GM Walt Jocketty spoke to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer about some of the free agent names connected to his club this winter…

  • The Reds' first priority is trying to find a leadoff hitter, though Jocketty said that Michael Bourn is too expensive for his club and the same could be true about Angel Pagan.  Jocketty said that the team hasn't contacted Pagan yet and "not that we wouldn’t but I wonder about the money.”
  • Jocketty confirmed that the Reds have talked to Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson about returning to Cincinnati, while the team has also spoke to free agent Joakim Soria.  Broxton is the only one of the trio who would be able to pitch on Opening Day, as Madson and Soria are both recovering from Tommy John surgery.  The Reds are likely one of the eight contenders who Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, says has shown interest in his client.
  • The Reds talked to Torii Hunter's agent "but the money was too much," Jocketty said.  The general manager doubted that Hunter's two-year, $26MM contract with the Tigers would impact Ryan Ludwick's price since "they're different kind(s) of players."  The Reds have had "preliminary" talks with Ludwick about a new deal.
  • Jocketty told FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi last week that the Reds could deal one of their shortstops (Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius) if the right deal came along, but Jocketty said that neither player is being shopped.  "We’re not taking offers,” Jocketty said. “That gets out and then we have to call Cozart and call Didi.”
  • The Reds have no plans to extend Jay Bruce's contract.  "We control him for five more years,” Jocketty said. “It’s so far off. It’s something we haven’t talked about.”  Matt Sosnick, Bruce's agent, raised the possibility of an extension beyond 2016 for his client earlier today.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Upton, Rays, Youkilis, Dodgers

Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

  • The Rangers continue to insist that they will not trade either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar for Justin Upton, which could allow the Rays to emerge as the front-runner. They could offer the Diamondbacks James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson in addition to shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee.
  • The White Sox and Phillies are interested in Kevin Youkilis, and the Dodgers are considering him as well. Rosenthal says other clubs are concerned whenever Los Angeles is reportedly in on a player given their financial might.
  • The Orioles and Nationals are still engaged in a dispute over money received from MASN — both clubs own the network, but Baltimore's stake is nearly 90% — though Nats GM Mike Rizzo said that will not limit the club's ability to spend.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is not concerned about finding a pure closer. He intends to add the best bullpen arms he can and let things figure themselves out.
  • A rival executive told Rosenthal that he expects Dan Haren to sign with the Padres. Haren is a West Coast guy and Padres GM Josh Byrnes originally acquired him from the Athletics while running the Diamondbacks a few years ago.
  • “Like him. Don’t love him," said a Red Sox official when asked about Adam LaRoche. Boston is reportedly pursuing the first baseman.
  • Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson will not be ready to pitch at the start of the season. Both right-handers are coming off Tommy John surgery.

Jocketty On Ludwick, Chapman, Votto

It’s no secret that Reds GM Walt Jocketty intends to upgrade the Cincinnati outfield this offseason. Jocketty addressed his search for outfield help and other Reds-related questions in a conversation with MLBTR at the GM Meetings in Indian Wells, California. Here are the details.

  • Jocketty said the Reds hope to re-sign Ryan Ludwick this winter. “We’ve made some progress, but it’ll probably take another week or two before we know where we’re at,” the GM said. “
  • Ideally the Reds would like to add a leadoff hitter. Whether the newcomer plays center or left field has yet to be determined.
  • The Reds view Aroldis Chapman as a starting pitcher long-term and they could make him a starter in 2013 if they acquire a free agent reliever. “If we re-sign Ryan Madson or [Jonathan] Broxton or someone else it would allow us to move Chapman to the rotation,” Jocketty said. Pitching coach Bryan Price feels strongly that Chapman can become a top of the rotation starter.
  • Signing Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in the spring helped the Reds focus on other needs this offseason, the GM said. “That was important for us to do, for sure.”

Central Links: Cubs, Chapman, Madson, Asdrubal

Some late-night reading surrounding baseball's two Central divisions…

Central Links: Royals, Ludwick, Reds, Hafner

The Royals improved their rotation earlier today by acquiring Ervin Santana from the Angels in what amounted to a salary dump trade. Here is the latest from baseball's two Central divisions…

  • Royals GM Dayton Moore says the team is "not done" following the Santana pickup, reports Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star (on Twitter). The club figures to continue seeking upgrades for their rotation.
  • The Reds and Ryan Ludwick continue to talk after the outfielder declined his half of a mutual option, reports John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). GM Walt Jocketty said the club is unlikely to offer more than two years, however.
  • Jocketty also told Fay that the Reds have interest in retaining free agents Ryan Madson, Jonathan Broxton, and Dioner Navarro (Twitter link). "I don't know if we'll sign them all," added Jocketty.
  • "We remain open to it," said Indians GM Chris Antonetti when asked about re-signing Travis Hafner, reports MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Cleveland declined the slugger's option earlier today but seem poised to go in a different direction at DH.

Ryan Madson Declines Mutual Option

Ryan Madson has declined his half of a mutual option for 2013, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The option was worth $11MM, and he'll instead receive a $2.5MM buyout.

Madson, 32, did not pitch at all in 2012 due to Tommy John surgery after signing a one-year, $8.5MM deal with the Reds last winter. From 2009-2011 he pitched to a 2.78 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9, however. The Phillies have some interest in bringing Madson back for next year according to Heyman, but the right-hander will seek a job closing.

Free Agent Faceoff: Ryan Madson vs. Joakim Soria

MLBTradeRumors is introducing a new series in which two comparable free agents are analyzed side by side. Each post will conclude with a reader vote on the value of the two players.

Coming into the season, Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria were two of baseball’s truly elite relievers. They combined to throw zero meaningful pitches in 2012. Both right-handers missed the season with Tommy John surgery and will hit the open market as free agents this winter. They figure to be in high demand despite their injuries, but is one preferable to the other?

Madson, 32, has just one season as a closer to his credit (2011), but from 2009-2011 he was a high-strikeout (9.6 K/9) and low-walk (2.4 BB/9) late-inning reliever for the Phillies. His best pitch is a low-to-mid-80s changeup, a pitch that generally puts less stress on the elbow than sliders or curveballs. In addition to the elbow reconstruction, Madson has missed time with a hand contusion (2011), a toe fracture (2010), and a shoulder strain (2007) in recent years.

Soria, 28, is actually recovering from his second Tommy John procedure. He’s been closing games since the middle of 2007, and owns a 9.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 for his career. Soria is the rare four-pitch reliever, using two breaking balls (slider and curveball) in addition to his changeup and low-90s fastball. He missed time with a shoulder strain in 2009 and an oblique strain in 2011.

The Royals intend to buy out Soria’s club option for next year and negotiate a new deal, but either way he and Madson will have little trouble landing work this offseason given their pedigrees. Almost every team will have interest in signing one or both guys to one-year, low base salary, incentive-laden contracts in the coming weeks.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Ryan Madson

Is it possible for a free agent to have much stock after he missed the entire season due to injury? It is when you've been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball for the last half-decade and are still just 32 years old.

Uspw_5547164The Reds invested a one-year, $8.5MM contract in Ryan Madson last winter only to watch him blow out his elbow and require Tommy John surgery near the end of Spring Training. They came into today with an 11-game lead in the NL Central thanks in part to Aroldis Chapman, who has emerged as one of the two or three most dominant closers in baseball in Madson's stead. The team survived the injury just fine.

Madson, however, faces an uncertain offseason. He pitched to a 2.89 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 329 2/3 innings from 2007-2011, including a 32-save campaign in his walk year last season. Agent Scott Boras spent the offseason trying to secure a multiyear pact – at one point it appeared that Madson would be returning to the Phillies before they signed Jonathan Papelbon – before taking the one-year deal from the Reds in late-January.

There isn't much precedent for relievers entering free agency coming off Tommy John surgery, but Manny Corpas did it a year ago. He ultimately took a minor league contract with the Rangers before hooking on with the Cubs this past winter. Given his pedigree, Madson should still be able to land a guaranteed contract this offseason, though it might be of the low-base salary plus incentives variety.

It's worth noting that there is an $11MM mutual option ($2.5MM buyout) in Madson's contract with the Reds. It seems likely that he would exercise his half of the option, but the Reds are unlikely to do the same given Chapman's emergence plus Sean Marshall's presence as the backup plan. Acquiring a pitcher of Madson's caliber on a low-base salary deal is very intriguing and something I'm sure multiple clubs will offer him after the season.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.