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.
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.