Report: Mutual Interest In Phils/Madson Reunion – Phillies Nation

Report: Mutual Interest In Phils/Madson Reunion the mailbag from CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, Salisbury states there is mutual interest between the Phillies and RHP Ryan Madson for a reunion. Madson, now 33, last pitched in 2011 in Game 5 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, throwing a scoreless frame in the top of the ninth of the 1-0 loss.

After 2011, Madson signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds to become their closer before succumbing to an elbow injury in Spring Training. Madson attempted to return in 2013, signing a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels but once again fell to injury, pitching just one game for High-A Inland Empire.

Madson was borderline dominant as a set-up man for the 2007-2011 Phillies, accumulating an impressive 5.4 fWAR as a reliever in that time period with top 30 FIP and xFIPs among relievers. In his only season as the Phillies full-time closer, Madson posted a 2.37 ERA with 32 saves.

In Salisbury’s piece, he states that Madson will likely begin throwing for teams in January and most likely will have to accept a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. This is certainly a worthwhile gamble for the Phillies in a number of ways: if Madson can return to form, he is a great asset in the bullpen. If a healthy Madson plays for the Phillies as currently constructed, aka a team that is not expected to do very well, he may be able to net a prospect at the trade deadilne.



  1. bacardipr

    December 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I was awaiting this years D.Young, Dontrelle Willis type of thing.

    • schmenkman

      December 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      I’m way way more interested in Madson’s return than I was in either DY or DW.

      • Ryne Duren

        December 27, 2013 at 9:03 am

        I’m with you Schmenk. If Madson’s healthy his age of 33 is a moot problem. Being injured for two straight years means he has less mileage on his arm. If he’s healthy of course. He’s a low risk high reward.

  2. Mike B.

    December 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    This is the type of low-risk, high-reward situation they should be seeking out. Of course, Ruben will probably sign him for 5/$55M.

  3. Darren

    December 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Why do I cringe every time I read “if he’s healthy”. Helluva way to build a team. On a hope and a prayer.

  4. Manny

    December 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    DO IT.

    (I might be biased given that I own a Madson jersey… but how on earth could this move hurt us?)

    • Skylar

      December 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      Sure why not?! (SMH! ) He would fit right in on our team of players on the wrong side of 30, overpaid players well past their prime and what makes it worse is this guy has not pitched competitively in basically a year and a half!

      Geez our fans must look really desperate compared to everyone else now!

    • schmenkman

      December 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      @Manny, agreed — definitely worth a flyer. Not only is he one of the 2 or 3 best relievers in the history of the franchise, but as Ian says if he can still pitch and the Phils are out of it in July he can net a prospect.

  5. bacardipr

    December 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    If he is willing to sign a minor league deal with low money then yes.

  6. Justin McElroy

    December 24, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Given Amaro’s uncanny ability to flip establish veterans (at exactly the right time) for talented prospects, signing Madson seems like a great idea. What could possibly go wrong?

  7. Hogey's Role

    December 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I think we should take a chance on him, we have absolutely nothing to lose..

  8. John

    December 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Why not, our roster is full of mid 30’s guys at this point anyway…. Why would Ruben want to I dunno…..MAKE THE TEAM BETTER??!!??

    2010 Madson > washed up Madson….. But that equation works for a lot of the guys we have on our roster anymore…

  9. photoFred

    December 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Would love to have him back and healthy.

  10. Lefty

    December 25, 2013 at 5:24 am

    I have no problem with trying this idea out, but it does bring a question to mind.

    If he is healthy and working out for multiple teams why would he want to come back here after (what was reported as) a messy break-up when they signed Papelbong instead of him?

  11. wbramh

    December 25, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Year End Bits & Pieces (I invite your thoughts)


    Yes, the Phillies aren’t getting any younger but the Red Sox are pulling away from them in the age department. The Phillies’ current average age is 28.2 yrs. while the average age of a Red Sox player is currently 28.5 yrs. The spread was just .1 year before the commencement of FA this year. Oh, and the Red Sox were, and remain, the oldest team in MLB.
    So much for the negative effects of age.


    While there’s a ;lot of banter about the salary “cap,” let’s stop and ask a few question here.
    First off the term is a misnomer since MLB doesn’t have a salary cap, There’s only a dollar figure ($178 million) above which a luxury tax must be paid. Unlike other major sports, the only limit to baseball team spending is a self-imposed one.

    ANOTHER WAY TO LOOK AT TANAKA (or someone like him)

    Exactly how devastating is a luxury tax in the scheme of things?

    Well first of all, the penalty for first offenders is 22.5% while the penalty for 3-time offenders (the Yankees) is 40%. Since the Phillies have never exceeded the $178 mil mark they would pay the minimum in the event they go over that number.

    The second thing to appreciate is that the tax is only levied against against the overage. So for sake of argument, let me illustrate a point based on the potential of a highly touted player like Tanaka. Let’s assume the Phillies’ current projected payroll is $168 mil for 2014 but they want to sign Tanaka for 5 years at 25 mil per year. That would make $15 mil subject to luxury tax or just $3.37 mil. in tax penalties in 2014. That’s just 1/8th the amount they’re currently paying per year for an oft-injured, bad-fielding 1st baseman who can’t hit left-handed pitching, The penalty would not be repeated once some of the wasted salaries (ie Papelbon & Howard) are finally off the books, Assuming the Yankees sign Tanaka for the same dollars, they would have to pay tax on the full $25 mil or an additional $10 mil – and that fee would almost certainly be levied every year for the length of Tanaka’s contract since the Yankees are already so far over the tax-free base . Hence, while the Phillies currently have a bloated salary vs talent, (IMO) they also have both the money and room to compete for top FA talent, and compete NOW, especially since their biggest mistakes will be off the books well before the bloated salaries on wealthy teams with more recent mega-signings, like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Angels.


    In 2013, Alex Rodriguez made more money than the entire Houston Astros team and half of his salary was compensation for sitting on the bench. For an eye-opening list of the best and worst-spent dollars in baseball, go here:


    It all goes to MLB with 50% helping to pay for benefits programs, 25% going to MLB promotion and the last 25% going to 3rd World player development – primarily foreign high schools without baseball programs.

    WHICH BRINGS UP A QUESTION FOR YOU PNers (commenters and pundits , alike)

    With American high schools and colleges dropping their baseball programs at an alarming rate due to lack of funding, why the hell isn’t MLB putting some of those luxury tax dollars back into the U.S. school programs. Local college case in point: Temple University which recently announced its intention to drop multiple sports, including their baseball program. I’m sure many of you can tell horror stories about sports funding issues in your local school systems.
    Just sayin.’

    • photoFred

      December 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Speaking of age, I posted a query to FanGraphs. I asked for data, by position, correlating age and days on the DL. It’s only one piece of the puzzle, but might be interesting. They responded positively but don’t know how quickly the wheels grind there.

  12. Lefty

    December 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

    wbramh, fascinating comment-

    Let me share my initial thoughts

    Unfortunately for the Phillies people age differently. A guy like David Ortiz has aged well so far. Ryan Howard – ehhh not so much. But I think the point about having an aging ball club is about health, and yes you can get lucky, but why take that chance?
    Also average age IMO is a poor measure, the real number should be “balance” of age. If you have the right mix of old and young as the Red Sox do, you have the advantage. While the Sawx do have their share of very old players they also have some really good young players. So their balance gives them a slightly better shot at staying healthy than our larger collection of mid thirties guys. During 2013, on offense they had young guys like Bogaerts, Middlebrooks, Bradley, Carp, Nava and Iglesias (before he was traded). We had Brown and Revere- and then later in the year a couple guys came up and contributed- because of injury. I think the point here is it’s not age, it’s injury- and the increased chances of an older team getting injured.

    I completely agree with you on all points-
    Since he’s officially free to negotiate now, go get Tanaka Phillies!!!!

    I didn’t find the list to be eye opening. Again it’s about balance, and depth. If paying too much allows a team to contend, I’m all for it. Jayson Werth and the Nationals come to mind, but on the other side of the coin is the Angels with Pujols and Hamilton, it’s not working so well there.

    Mixing the next two topics- LUXURY TAX QUESTION
    I’ll be annoying and answer this question with a question.
    Are the programs being dropped because of lack of funding- or lack of interest? I’m pretty certain that if the sports being dropped are well supported and attended, and by that I mean by someone else other than just the players parents, they wouldn’t be dropped. Unfortunately we live in a world now where it’s all about the money, even at our educational institutions.

    Anyway that’s my take. Merry Christmas to you wbramh, I always enjoy your comments.

  13. DadsInKeyLargo

    December 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    If Ruben wants to make a statement and secure a portion of the future, he would go all in on Tanaka.
    The Phillies are rich and are about to get richer (TV deal).

  14. wbramh

    December 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Hi Lefty,

    Thanks for that thoughtful response.

    As to age, you’re absolutely right about some players remaining at the top of their game longer than others. Your Ortiz-Howard example would have been the first to come to my mind, too. There’s always guessing and luck involved, but an educated guess is what smarter teams take and they’re the ones who usually end up with an Ortiz. So I guess my point is that winning is age-neutral.

    Of course, my use of Masahiro Tanaka as an example was just that – an example. No one can no for sure how well he will transition to American baseball, but based on recent top Japanese talent he would probably be no less than number two in the rotation on most teams and the ace on quite a few -possibly including the Yankees. It’s situations like this that reveal the weaknesses of teams devoid of sophisticated metrics measuring capacity, the Phillies being one of them.

    As for the “over-compensated,” yes, there was nothing eye-opening; just a reminder about the best laid plans. For Seattle’s sake, I hope they break the negative trend with the signing of Cano. If they miscalculated, Cano’s contract may finally be enough to break the giant, endless contract habit for everybody.

    On the use of luxury tax funds, college football programs tend to pay for all of the other sports programs. If football attendance and TV revenue are poor the entire sports program suffers. High school sports are another story. HS Baseball and other sports programs suffer from the same lack of funds that plague many academic fields these days. So my question was why MLB doesn’t offer American high schools the same or better funding that foreign schools receive to maintain their baseball programs? Considering that a full 25% of luxury tax collected by MLB goes to support foreign high school level programs, tens of millions of dollars could have been at least shared with local American community baseball programs courtesy the Yankees’ luxury tax alone.

    And from one lefty to another, Merry Christmas to you too.
    I always enjoy reading your insights, Lefty.
    Hope to read many more this year.

    • wbramh

      December 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      The second para should have read, “No one can KNOW for sure.”
      Sorry – brain freeze.

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  16. schmenkman

    December 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    BTW, today (12/27) Cole Hamels joins the ranks of the thirty-somethings.

  17. George

    December 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Old players are more injury prone? That’s probably true, but doesn’t explain the injuries to Pettibone, Brown, Revere, Lannan, or Kendrick, and some bullpen depth pieces who were all still in their twenties. It also doesn’t explain why Rollins played in almost every game, that Cliff Lee pitched 200+ innings, or that Utley’s ancient knees held up all year. A lot of what’s been happenning with the Phils is bad luck, not just signings of older players.

    If Madson can pitch with some ability, his slightly advanced age isn’t going to matter one bit, and could even help. Just his experience will make him a better option than many young snots; he’ll know when he can’t blow the ball by a hitter, whereas a rookie might think his heat will conquer all.

    • Lefty

      December 28, 2013 at 10:36 am

      George, agreed- The Phillies had unusual bad luck with the young guys, well- except Dominic Brown who seems to have bad luck injuries more often than some younger players. This year’s Los Angeles Lakers and last year’s Celtics are the poster boys of why you don’t try to put together a team of old stars. It can and has worked in the past, but it’s really just pushing you’re luck if you don’t have to go that route.

      I also would like to see if Madson can pitch. I just wonder if he would want to come back after what was an apparently acrimonious departure.

      • George

        December 28, 2013 at 11:29 am

        “Mutual interest” I think means that Madson has few reservations about coming back. He does have a different agent now, and his former agent, Scott Boras, may have been part of the “acrimonious departure.”

        When a person is unemployed, as Madson is, acrimony sometimes dissipates and becomes a “misunderstanding.” It’s amazing what incidents a person can rationalize for a chance at a million bucks, and maybe the offer will include a “whack Amaro upside the head” clause.

      • Lefty

        December 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm

        George, I’m glad you replied, I had no idea that Madson had switched agents. I just looked it up and sure enough I just missed it. Guess that answers my question.

  18. lew

    December 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    s wife doesnt like phillies,fans

  19. Smithk284

    March 26, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Very nice! begadeaeac

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