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.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.