Report: Phillies appear close to re-signing Ryan Madson

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Last night the Phillies were said to be “making a strong push” to re-sign Ryan Madson and now Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the two sides are closing in on a new contract.

According to Heyman they’re “in serious discussions” and it’s “hard to imagine it not getting done soon.”

One benefit to re-signing Madson rather than replacing him with another free agent closer is that the Phillies wouldn’t have to surrender a first-round pick. The other benefit, of course, is that Madson is really, really good even if took the Phillies five years to realize he could handle ninth-inning duties.

Philadelphia has also been linked to Jonathan Papelbon, but it seems clear that he’s merely the fallback option to retaining Madson, who saved 32 games with a 2.37 ERA and 62/16 K/BB ratio in 61 innings this season at age 30.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.