Ryan Madson

Scott Boras and Ruben Amaro Jr. disagree about why Ryan Madson didn’t re-sign with the Phillies

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Shortly after the start of free agency multiple sources reported that Ryan Madson and the Phillies had agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract, but that deal fell through and Philadelphia quickly signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million deal instead.

Now two months later Madson settled for a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Reds and today agent Scott Boras shared his side of the Madson/Phillies story with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com:

It’s very simple. We never rejected any offer from Philadelphia at four years and $44 million. We advised Philadelphia that we would agree to such a proposal. And Philadelphia decided upon hearing that to go in a different direction. We agreed to a four-year, $44 million offer, and Philadelphia decided to sign someone else.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has a much different view of how things played out:

There’s no reason for me to get into a public debate with Scott on this. I have no desire to do that. All I can tell you is, there was never an agreement, and we decided that we wanted to sign someone with the experience and the ability of Jonathan Papelbon. So we went that route. There’s no question we had discussions with Ryan about bringing him back. We had several discussions about it. But no agreement was made. If we had come to an agreement, we would have signed him.

Obviously something unusual happened at some point in the negotiations, but for Boras to claim that the two sides had an agreement seems like a stretch, if only because he hasn’t filed any sort of grievance on behalf a client who’s out more than $30 million. If he truly believed that Amaro and the Phillies backed out of an agreed upon contract worth $44 million, why wouldn’t Boras have raised hell?

Of course, while the situation is unfortunate for Madson it’s very fortunate for the Reds, who get a top-notch reliever for a one-year commitment while guys like Papelbon, Heath Bell, and Joe Nathan got multi-year deals. Heck, even Frank Francisco got two years and $12 million from the Mets.

And while Amaro might look smart for avoiding a $44 million commitment to Madson considering how the 31-year-old right-hander’s market played out, the fact that he gave $50 million to Papelbon in a market flush with quality closers sort of makes that tough to praise.

Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see if Boras’ disagreement with Amaro makes his clients less likely to wind up in Philadelphia. If the money is right, probably not.

Indians sign Brandon Guyer to a two-year extension

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Brandon Guyer #6 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates Rajai Davis #20 two-run home run during the eighth inning to tie the game 6-6 against the Chicago Cubs in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Brandon Guyer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year contract with a club option for 2019.

The Indians acquired Guyer from the Rays at last year’s trade deadline. After coming to Cleveland he posted a line of .333/.438/.469 in 38 games. He’s a .262/.349/.402 hitter over 344 games in five seasons in the bigs. He has led the league in being hit by pitches for the past two seasons, getting plunked 24 times in 2015 and 31 times in 2016. He went 6-for-18 with four walks and two HBPs in the playoffs for Cleveland. The man will work to get on base, my friends. And he can play all three outfield positions.

Nice signing.

Sarasota County to build the Braves a new spring training facility

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The Braves have trained at Walt Disney World for several years. The lease is up, however, and they’ve been on the hunt for a new facility for some time. Disney is just too geographically remote from most of the Grapefruit League facilities so they’ve looked on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for some time.

Their search appears to be over, however, as they have reached an agreement to move to Sarasota:

The Atlanta Braves formally plan to move the team’s spring training home to North Port in 2019, the team and Sarasota County announced Tuesday afternoon.

The announcement set the stage for final negotiations this spring on a contract to bring the Major League Baseball team to a new complex in the West Villages district just south of West Villages Parkway and U.S. 41, near the State College of Florida campus in North Port.

It’ll be a $75-$80 million complex on 70 acres. The story says it’s envisioned to anchor a “town center” commercial and residential district. If anyone has ever been to a spring training facility, however, one knows how ridiculous such an idea is. There is nothing more geographically un-centered and dispersed than a spring training facility. It’s a sea of open fields which private citizens generally cannot access and large parking lots. These facilities typically require major arteries, not quaint town streets, for reasonable access. The best any facilities do to integrate with surrounding communities can be seen in Fort Myers with the Twins and in Surprise, Arizona with the Rangers and Royals, where the facilities are part of larger community parks and recreation centers. That’s OK, and certainly better than nothing, but they’re not the anchors of the vibrant live/work/shop developments like the Braves and Sarasota are describing here.

But of course everyone involved has to say that, because selling such facilities as the engine of pie-in-the-sky development is a key part of making the large expenditure of public funds seem more palatable. And yes, there will be a big expenditure of public funds here: the Braves will be getting $56 million in taxpayer subsidies for the new place, some from the state, some from the county. The amount from the county, by the way, is calculated to fall just below the threshold required for a public vote on the expenditure. The Braves have always been blessed with the ability to avoid public votes for their corporate welfare, of course.

One wonders how many other wealthy private businesses owned by multinational corporations get tens of millions in tax dollars to build employee training centers. Not many, I’m sure. The Braves always seem to luck out in this regard, however.