Scott Boras was able to land Prince Fielder a massive contract, but two of his other clients, Ryan Madson and Edwin Jackson, ended up settling for one-year deals well below what they were expecting when the offseason began.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes that “there’s a lot of buzz in baseball circles that Madson might be on the verge of shopping for a new agent in the aftermath of a bad negotiating experience this offseason.”
Madson, however, said today that he’s sticking with Boras:
I’m still with Scott and I plan on being with Scott for the foreseeable future. Everything is the same. That’s the way the business part of the game works. You can hear one story from one person and that’s the truth, then a different story from somebody else and that could be true. It’s a group of people making decisions, and you’re not going to pin it down unless you get the whole group together.
Boras claimed that the Phillies did Madson wrong by pulling what he believed was a four-year, $44 million offer made early in the offseason, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insists it never reached the acceptance stage. Philadelphia then signed Jonathan Papelbon for $50 million and Madson settled for a one-year, $8.5 million deal from the Reds.
It’s probably misleading to say that cost him $35 million, because if healthy Madson will be able to land another sizable deal next offseason, but no one could blame him for being disappointed with how things went. And if Boras is going to be lavished with praise for the Fielder signing, the flipside should be true when it comes to Madson and Jackson.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.