Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Phillies are making a “strong push” to re-sign free agent closer Ryan Madson.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears similar information, citing one major league source who says the Phillies are working hard to keep Madson and possibly nearing an agreement.
As for Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, he’s predictably not tipping his hand.
“I do not characterize my negotiations,” Amaro said. “I need a closer. It’s no secret I need a closer.”
When asked whether he was talking to other high-profile closers like Heath Bell and Jonathan Papelbon, Amaro said, “I am talking to everyone.”
Meanwhile, Boras told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that the two sides are still “exchanging proposals.” It’s believed that Madson could find a three or four-year deal in free agency.
Madson, 31, posted a 2.37 ERA and 62/16 K/BB ratio over 60 2/3 innings this season. After struggling in the closer role in previous seasons, he went 32-for-34 in save opportunities in 2011.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.