madson getty

UPDATE: Reds ink Ryan Madson to one-year, $8.5 million deal

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UPDATE: Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the deal is worth $8.5 million guaranteed while Bob Nightengale of USA Today adds that it includes some performance-based incentives.

The Phillies will receive two draft picks as compensation for Madson, though the new CBA stipulates that the Reds will not surrender their first-round pick.  Instead, the Phils are expected to pick prior to the Reds (14th overall) in the first-roundUPDATE: Silly new CBA rules. It appears the Phillies will get a supplemental first-round pick and a second-round pick.

11:50 PM, Tuesday: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the deal is worth in excess of $10 million.

11:31 PM, Tuesday: Heyman adds that it’s a one-year deal. Still need to see the dollar amount, but you have to love this if you’re the Reds. And while Madson didn’t get the deal we all thought he would get back in November, he could get his money next offseason if he proves healthy and effective in 2012.

10:55 PM, Tuesday: Ryan Madson has finally found a home. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the 31-year-old right-hander has agreed to terms with the Reds. No word on the specifics yet.

Madson saved 32 games in 34 chances with the Phillies in 2011 and owns a 2.89 ERA over the past five seasons. He’s an improvement over the declining Francisco Cordero in the closer role and just the latest sign that the Reds are going for it in the National League Central.

7:50 PM, Tuesday: According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, a Reds’ source has downplayed the club’s interest in Madson.

6:35 PM, Tuesday: The Reds remain in contact with Francisco Cordero about serving as their closer this season, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the club is also in “serious” talks with Ryan Madson.

Many consider Madson one of the biggest losers of the offseason since his reported four-year, $44 million deal with the Phillies fell through in the early part of November. Potential suitors have gone in other directions, leaving one of the best relievers in baseball out of a job. The Reds recently acquired right-hander Mat Latos from the Padres, so there’s no question they’re going for it in the National League Central, although Cordero would likely come at a significantly lower price.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer this afternoon that he hopes to have the Cordero situation resolved “one way or another” this week, so one wonders if he is talking to Madson in order to force his hand.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.