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.

Dee Gordon reinstated from PED suspension

Miami Marlins' Dee Gordon celebrates after hitting a double against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Miami. Derek Dietrich scored on the double. The Tigers won 8-7. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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The Miami Marlins have reinstated second baseman Dee Gordon from his suspension.

Gordon, of course, has missed the last 80 games while serving his drug suspension. He’s coming off a minor league rehab assignment and will be the everyday second baseman for the contending Marlins. He was hitting .266/.289/.340 with three doubles, two triples, five RBI, 13 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 97 plate appearances when he was popped. He was replaced by Derek Dietrich, who hit a nice .275/.366/.398 with 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 314 PA in Gordon’s absence, so don’t expect a tremendous upgrade at second down the stretch, even if they get a nice upgrade in the utility and depth department.

To make room for Gordon, the Marlins designated utilityman and sometimes hero Don Kelly for assignment. Sad jams.

Chris Sale called “a competitor” for stuff that gets most guys called “head cases”

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox reacts during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Chris Sale has had an eventful week.

On Saturday he was scratched from his start and subsequently suspended for five games for cutting up the 1976 throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear, making them unusable. That cost the team over $12,000 and cost the Sox their best pitcher hours before game time.

On Monday Sale gave an interview to Scott Merkin in which he apologized to fans and teammates and explained his rationale for the uniform shredding. Even if his act was over the top, there was a core of understandable motivation at least: Sale said he voiced his displeasure with the untucked jersey months ago and asked to not pitch on a night they’d have to wear them because he believed it would mess with his mechanics and/or mental state. The Sox didn’t heed his request and Sale took issue, as many probably would, with what he felt was the business of throwback jerseys taking precedence over on-the-field stuff.

Of course, there are still some pretty big problems here. Mostly having to do with the facts that (a) the Sox have people on staff who could’ve optimized his jersey any way he needed it to be optimized if he had asked; (b) ballplayers have been wearing throwbacks for a long time now and, even if they don’t like them, they tend to endure them; and (c) he’s a ballplayer who needs to suck things up sometimes like every single ballplayer ever has done. There are a ton of things ballplayers are expected to do which are insisted upon by the business folks. It’s part of the gig.

A little more seriously than that is the fact that Sale pretty publicly threw his manager, Robin Ventura, under the bus :

“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” Sale said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”

An undercurrent to all of this is Sale being fairly obvious in voicing his desire to be traded.

Today Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a story about Sale’s week. It’s sourced largely by Sale’s friend Adam Eaton who defends Sale as a passionate competitor who just wants to win and how all of this stuff of the past week was about his desire to do so. The headline of the story buys in to all of that:

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We heard much the same along these lines when Sale blasted Sox brass following the Drake LaRoche stuff during spring training, going on an expletive-filled rant in a meeting behind closed doors but then bringing the same noise, albeit cleaned up, in front of reporters after it all became public.

Chris Sale is who he is, of course, and I’m not going to too harshly judge who he is. He’s an amazing pitcher and, as most athletes will tell you, the mental part of the game is almost as important or, maybe, even more important than the physical part. Asking Sale to be who he isn’t would probably be counterproductive in the long term.

But I am fascinated with the way in which someone who has behaved like Sale has behaved is described. He’s a “competitor” whose objectively disruptive and literally destructive behavior is explained away as merely a function of his desire to win. His friends on the team, like Eaton, are sought out for damage control and spin and his detractors, which there are likely some, aren’t quoted, even anonymously. He has publicly called out his manager as not wanting to win as much as he wants to please his bosses and he has likewise called out his manager’s bosses and has welcomed a trade, yet we aren’t seeing stories about how that’s a bad thing for the Sox’ clubhouse.

I don’t much care for that sort of stuff, actually, as I suspect most clubhouse controversy stories are somewhat overblown and overly dramatized. But those stories have been go-to tropes of sports writers for decades, and I am trying to imagine this sort of story about players who aren’t Chris Sale. Players who don’t have as friendly a relationship with the media as he has or who don’t have clubhouse allies who do. I feel like, most of the time, a story about a guy who who has done the odd things Sale has done both this week and last March would play a hell of a lot differently.

How does this all play of it’s Yordano Ventura? Or Yasiel Puig? Or Jose Fernandez? How does this play if it took place in the NBA and it was Kevin Durant who shredded up a bunch of short-shorts on 80s throwback night? How does it play if it’s Cam Newton?

I bet it plays differently.