Although the market for relievers seems in serious decline, especially in light of the Blue Jays’ trade for a closer and the Rockies’ struggles in giving Huston Street away, neither Ryan Madson or Francisco Rodriguez have any plans to accept arbitration offers, according to MLB Network’s Peter Gammons.
Madson and K-Rod would be very interesting cases in arbitration, given how rarely free agents actually test the process. Madson made $4.5 million last season and would surely command a significant raise, though with just one season of closing experience, he might have a difficult time persuading a panel to award him the $9 million-$10 million he figured to earn in his first season of a new multiyear deal. K-Rod made $11 million last season, and considering that he finished with a fine 2.64 ERA in 71 2/3 innings, it’d be hard to argue he deserves much of a paycut.
Of course, if they did accept arbitration, it’d be to serve as setup men in 2012, something that could hurt their market as they reenter free agency next year. The Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to close, and K-Rod wasn’t happy last year after becoming an eighth-inning guy in front of John Axford.
Madson, at least, will still get his money in a multiyear deal. Even though the market for closers appears very limited at the moment, someone will step up and offer him at least Heath Bell money (three years, $27 million).
Rodriguez isn’t likely to be as fortunate, and his best move financially would almost certainly be to take the Brewers up on their offer. Of course, since he’s already made $55 million as a major leaguer, he can afford to take less and be happy elsewhere.