Rays, Red Sox, Cardinals may be fallbacks for Ryan Madson

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Ryan Madson likely had a smile on his face back in early November when Jonathan Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies.

That deal set the bar high for free agent closers, and Madson — with stats similar to Papelbon’s in recent years — probably figured he would also cash in.

But the market for relievers has since crashed, and there is no longer a line of teams looking to spend big on bullpen help. So where does Madson turn?

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Rays, Red Sox and Cardinals “will be interested” in Madson “when and if” his current price drops. They won’t be offering four-year deals, and Boston and St. Louis can’t guarantee him a ninth-inning job out of the gate, but they’re all three projected to contend in 2012. And that might be worth something to Madson if, as expected, he’s unable to find the kind of massive contract he was looking for when this offseason began.

Dodgers announce World Series rotation order

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We know Clayton Kershaw will oppose Dallas Keuchel in Game 1 of the World Series. We now know the rest of the Dodgers’ rotation order, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. After Kershaw, it’ll be Rich Hill, then Yu Darvish, followed by Alex Wood.

No surprise, that’s the same order the Dodgers used in the NLCS against the Cubs. Dodger starters combined to post a 2.67 ERA with 31 strikeouts and four walks across 27 innings in the NLCS.

The Astros haven’t yet announced their rotation order, but we can safely assume Justin Verlander will follow Keuchel in Game 2.