Ryan Madson

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


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.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.