UPDATE: Reds ink Ryan Madson to one-year, $8.5 million deal

52 Comments

UPDATE: Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the deal is worth $8.5 million guaranteed while Bob Nightengale of USA Today adds that it includes some performance-based incentives.

The Phillies will receive two draft picks as compensation for Madson, though the new CBA stipulates that the Reds will not surrender their first-round pick.  Instead, the Phils are expected to pick prior to the Reds (14th overall) in the first-roundUPDATE: Silly new CBA rules. It appears the Phillies will get a supplemental first-round pick and a second-round pick.

11:50 PM, Tuesday: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the deal is worth in excess of $10 million.

11:31 PM, Tuesday: Heyman adds that it’s a one-year deal. Still need to see the dollar amount, but you have to love this if you’re the Reds. And while Madson didn’t get the deal we all thought he would get back in November, he could get his money next offseason if he proves healthy and effective in 2012.

10:55 PM, Tuesday: Ryan Madson has finally found a home. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the 31-year-old right-hander has agreed to terms with the Reds. No word on the specifics yet.

Madson saved 32 games in 34 chances with the Phillies in 2011 and owns a 2.89 ERA over the past five seasons. He’s an improvement over the declining Francisco Cordero in the closer role and just the latest sign that the Reds are going for it in the National League Central.

7:50 PM, Tuesday: According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, a Reds’ source has downplayed the club’s interest in Madson.

6:35 PM, Tuesday: The Reds remain in contact with Francisco Cordero about serving as their closer this season, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the club is also in “serious” talks with Ryan Madson.

Many consider Madson one of the biggest losers of the offseason since his reported four-year, $44 million deal with the Phillies fell through in the early part of November. Potential suitors have gone in other directions, leaving one of the best relievers in baseball out of a job. The Reds recently acquired right-hander Mat Latos from the Padres, so there’s no question they’re going for it in the National League Central, although Cordero would likely come at a significantly lower price.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer this afternoon that he hopes to have the Cordero situation resolved “one way or another” this week, so one wonders if he is talking to Madson in order to force his hand.

Brewers won’t punish Josh Hader for offensive tweets

Getty Images
33 Comments

Some old tweets of Josh Hader‘s surfaced during the All-Star Game on Tuesday, containing offensive and hateful language. Major League Baseball responded by ordering Hader to attend sensitivity training and attend diversity initiatives.

The Brewers won’t punish Hader themselves, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. GM David Stearns says the club is taking its lead from MLB, which has already handed down its punishment to Hader. Additionally, the Brewers’ lack of punishment has to do with the tweets occurring when Hader was younger — 17 years old — and not involved with professional baseball.

Stearns also said of Hader’s tweets, “I don’t think they’re representative of who he is. I think they’re offensive. I think they’re ill-informed and ignorant but I don’t think they represent who he is as a person right now.” Stearns added, “I don’t know how he’s going to work through it. The truth is he has put himself in this situation. And he’s going to have to work very hard to get through it.”

Hader apologized on Wednesday, saying, “I was 17 years old, and as a child I was immature, and obviously I said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person today.” Hader said, “I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said. I’m ready for any consequences that happen for what happened seven years ago.”

Lorenzo Cain, a black outfielder and teammate of Hader’s, said, “I know Hader; he’s a great guy. I know he’s a great teammate. I’m fine. Everybody will be O.K. We’ll move on.” Cain further defended Hader, saying, “We’ve all said crazy stuff growing up, even when we were 17, 18 years old. If we could follow each other around with a recorder every day, I’m sure we all said some dumb stuff. We’re going to move on from this.”

First baseman Jesús Aguilar also came to Hader’s defense:

However, Aguilar also retweeted a tweet from Scott Wheeler of The Athletic which had screencaps of Royals 2B/OF Whit Merrifield and Angels outfielder Mike Trout using the word “gay” pejoratively in tweets. Merrifield also used the word “retard” pejoratively.

The “he was 17” defense rings hollow. At 17 years old, one is able to join the military, get a full driver’s license (in many states), apply for student loans, and get married (in some states). Additionally, one is not far off from being able to legally buy cigarettes and guns. Given all of these other responsibilities we give to teenagers, asking them not to use racial and homophobic slurs is not unreasonable. Punishing them when they do so is also not unreasonable.

A study from several years ago found that black boys are viewed as older and less innocent than white boys. A similar study from last year found that black girls are viewed as less innocent than white girls. Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Cameron Tillman, among many others, never got the benefit of the doubt that Hader and countless other white kids have gotten and continue to get in our society. When we start giving the same benefit of the doubt to members of marginalized groups, then we can break out the “but he was only 17” defense for Hader.

We also need to ask ourselves what our inaction regarding Hader’s words will say to members of those marginalized communities. Will it tell them that we value the comfort of those in power above everyone else? Will it tell members of marginalized groups that they are not welcome? In this case, it absolutely will. It communicates the message that, as long as you are white and can perform athletic feats, there’s no level of bigotry the league won’t tolerate. Furthermore, as the league and its 30 individual teams make more efforts towards inclusiveness with events like “Pride Night,” the inaction comes off as two-faced and hypocritical. This is why Major League Baseball — and the Brewers — should have done more to respond to Hader’s tweets.