Tag: Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson makes the Royals’ 25-man roster


It’s been a long road back to the major leagues for reliever Ryan Madson. But he’s officially made it back, joining the Royals’ bullpen as part of the 25-man roster, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports. Madson signed with the Royals on a minor league deal in January and performed reasonably well in spring training, giving up five runs (three earned) on 11 hits with a 6/0 K/BB ratio in nine innings. He’ll earn a $850,000 salary this season for making the major league roster.

Madson, 34, last pitched in the majors in 2011 when the Phillies were knocked out of the NLDS in five games by the Cardinals. The right-hander had risen to prominence as one of baseball’s best set-up men, then took over in the closer’s role for Brad Lidge in 2011. From 2007-11, as a full-time reliever for the Phillies, Madson posted a 2.89 ERA with a 314/97 K/BB ratio in 329 2/3 innings.

The Phillies let him go into free agency after the 2011 season. He signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Reds for the 2012 season but he never threw a pitch for them as a result of a sprained UCL suffered early in spring training. He underwent surgery in April. The next off-season, he signed with the Angels on a one-year, $3.5 million deal, but again did not pitch due to continued discomfort in his surgically repaired elbow. Madson had surgery to remove scar tissue from his elbow in May that year. He did not sign with anyone in 2014.

Royals sign Ryan Madson to minor league contract

madson angels getty

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Royals have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with free agent reliever Ryan Madson. The deal comes with an invitation to major league spring training, where the veteran right-hander will try to beat the odds and claim a spot in Kansas City’s Opening Day bullpen.

Madson hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011 due to elbow issues. He needed Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2012, after signing a one-year, $8.5 million contract with the Reds, and then experienced more arm issues in 2013 after inking a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Angels. He sat out the entire 2014 season.

Madson, now 34 years old, registered an excellent 2.45 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 126/29 K/BB ratio in 113 2/3 innings for the Phillies between 2010-2011. He saved 32 games as Philly’s closer during the 2011 season.

Jonathan Papelbon on 300th save: “It means a lot to me”

Jonathan Papelbon AP

It was a long time between save opportunities for the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon. Since May 24 Papelbon really had no need to warm up for the ninth inning, since there were no games to save.

Maybe that’s why he decided to let Tuesday’s night’s chance against the San Diego Padres linger a little longer than he should have. Entering the ninth with a three-run lead, Papelbon loaded the bases with two outs before finally closing it down with a ground ball by Tommy Medica (see game recap).

No harm, no foul.

And with that tightrope act, Papelbon became the 26th pitcher in big-league history to register 300 saves. Moreover, he did it in fewer games than anyone except for Trevor Hoffman.

Fittingly, Papelbon got No. 300 against Hoffman’s former team.

Nevertheless, Papelbon’s journey to 300 saves wasn’t exactly quixotic, though it wasn’t without its detours. A starter in the minors, Papelbon successfully lobbied Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein to move him to the closer role.

Perhaps closing games is what has kept Papelbon off the disabled list for his entire 10 years in the big leagues.

“It means a lot to me, more than what most people would probably think,” Papelbon said after escaping with his 14th save of the season. “I started this a long time ago and I was supposed to be a starter. Theo Epstein wanted to make me a starter and I told him I didn’t want to be a starter. It’s been a long journey since then. I don’t know how happy he was when I told him I wanted to do that, but it’s all turned out the way I expected it and hoped it would. I got to keep working hard and keep putting in the work to stay healthy and hopefully try to get another 300 if I stay healthy.”

In Phillies history, closers have been more like Haley’s Comet than Old Faithful. Jose Mesa has the franchise record with 112 saves, notching 87 of them in his first two seasons with the team. Brad Lidge left Philly with 100 saves and 41 of them came during that magical 2008 season.

With 81 saves in a little more than two seasons and a contract that runs through 2015 with a vesting option for 2016, Papelbon could blow past Mesa’s record. Considering Papelbon’s ability to stay off the disabled list, there’s no reason why he can’t match Hoffman’s mark of 601 saves. After all, Hoffman got all but 10 of his saves in 14 of his 18 seasons and missed nearly all of the 2003 season on the disabled list.

Though Papelbon has lost a little off his fastball and he struggled in Tuesday’s game, he has converted all but one of his save chances this season. Better yet, Papelbon has posted a 1.48 ERA and has 12 1-2-3 innings in his 25 appearances.

Despite this, Papelbon’s strikeout rate is at a career low and his walk rate has doubled since last season. However, Papelbon has allowed just two extra-base hits this season and has held the opposition to a .195 batting average. Even at the start of his career when he was taking over the role as closer for the Red Sox, Papelbon only held opponents to a lower batting average just once.

So how does he stay healthy and convert saves even though his fastball isn’t as sharp?

Easy. It’s all upstairs, Papelbon said.

“It’s a mental grind and you have to stay focused the best you can,” Papelbon said. “There is no way to really duplicate a game-on-the-line type situation, but for me I just try to stay focused. It’s more mental than physical.

“That’s one of the main reasons why I decided to become a closer. I don’t know why, but I like the rollercoaster ride and it is what it is. I like coming to the yard every day knowing I have a chance to go in there or not. It’s hard to explain.”

It also helps that the closer’s role is much more refined than it once was. Papelbon, Hoffman and the all-time saves leader, Mariano Rivera, rarely pitch more than one inning. Bruce Sutter, the Hall of Fame pitcher who finished his career with 300 saves in 12 seasons, rarely worked so little. In fact, in his 661 games, Sutter pitched more than one inning 407 times.

In 1984, Sutter appeared in a career-high 71 games and pitched 122 innings. Papelbon got to 131 innings in his first 131 games with the Phillies.

For that, Papelbon gave praise to Rivera for redefining the role and allowing pitchers like himself to save more games and have longer careers.

“The closer’s role is what it is today because of Mariano Rivera. There is no other man that is solely responsible for it but him,” Papelbon said. “In my opinion, he made the role what it is today and I’ve told him many a time that he’s the godfather of all closers. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be in this type of situation today. When I was in Boston, I used to joke with him all the time. He’d come back for another year and play and it seemed like he had some kind of fountain of youth over there in Panama. He made it harder and harder for me every year. Everyone’s chasing him, so hopefully one day I can get somewhere close to him and we’ll see what happens if I can stay healthy.”

It’s worth noting that Mesa ceded the closer’s role to Mike Williams at the end of his tenure in Philadelphia. And Lidge gave way to Ryan Madson at the end of his time in town. Working on his third season, Papelbon isn’t looking over his shoulder yet.

Nationals interested in reliever Ryan Madson

ryan madson phillies getty

James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals were among the teams in attendance at Ryan Madson’s showcase last Friday in Phoenix and came away impressed by the free agent reliever.

Madson reportedly hit 93 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions during the workout and should soon land a minor league contract from one of the 15-or-so clubs that showed up to watch him pitch.

The 33-year-old right-hander hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the 2011 postseason due to elbow issues, but he was among the best late-inning arms in the sport before Tommy John surgery sidetracked his career. Madson posted a 2.45 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 126/29 K/BB ratio in 113 2/3 innings during his final two seasons (2010-2011) with the Phillies.

Red Sox showing interest in bringing back Joel Hanrahan

Joel Hanrahan Getty

Despite posting a 9.82 ERA in 7 1/3 innings and having to undergo surgery on his right elbow last season, the Red Sox are considering bringing reliever Joel Hanrahan back, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford. The Sox traded for Hanrahan and Brock Holt in December 2012, sending Ivan DeJesus, Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, and Jerry Sands to the Pirates in return.

Hanrahan, 32, went on the disabled list after an appearance on May 6 against the Twins. He allowed one run in two-thirds of an inning. On May 16th, Hanrahan underwent Tommy John surgery, had his flexor tendon repaired, and had bone chips removed.

Hanrahan earned $7.04 million last season, but may have to settle for a minor league deal going into 2014.

The Red Sox were also one of the teams watching Ryan Madson audition, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.