The end of Ryan Madson‘s tenure with the Phillies has never been adequately explained by anybody.
You’ll remember about a year ago when Ruben Amaro was doing his dance with Madson and Jonathan Papelbon. One minute it seemed like the Phils and Madson had agreed on a contract that would have kept him in Philly to be the closer. Then, in the blink of an eye, the Phils reversed course and signed Papelbon, with both sides then offering different opinions about whether or not a contract had officially been offered and accepted.
It was a confusing time for all of us. None of us were sure what was going to happen next.
Would the Cubans launch their missiles at us? Would Khrushchev back down and remove his missiles from Cuba? Would the entire eastern seaboard of the United States be annihilated by 35 nuclear bombs dropped on our heads?
OK, maybe the uncertainty wasn’t as severe as the Cuban Missile Crisis, but we did spend a lot of time talking about it.
Fast forward to this week, when it was announced Madson turned down the $11 million option on his contract and took a $2.5 million buyout instead. It’s said Madson wants to pursue a closer’s job, and that wasn’t going to happen while Aroldis Chapman is throwing baseballs faster than any normal human being should legally be allowed to throw them at people in Cincinnati.
Clearly, one of two things is happening.
First, Ryan Madson could be a crazy person. (Wait, that’s not politically correct, is it? OK, let’s go with raging nut-bag. Yea, much more delicate.) Why else would someone coming off Tommy John surgery refuse $11 million, and not take the time to establish some value as a set-up man next year, then hit the free agent market after 2013 with the knowledge he’s fully healthy?
Madson says he wants to go to a team that will give him the opportunity to close. And while there are numerous potential landing spots out there (Florida, possibly Detroit, New York) are any of those teams going to give Madson more than a one or two-year deal worth $11 million?
It’s nuts, friends.
Of course, the Phillies would love to have him back, probably in that eighth inning role he was terrific at for so many years. But if Madson’s stated goal is to be believed, perhaps he’s willing to take less money to be a closer rather than make more as a set-up man.
And you know what? That’s actually not so crazy. How many of us wouldn’t be willing to take a small financial hit if it meant we were doing something we truly wanted to do? If Madson wants to be a closer, then he should see if that opportunity is out there.
But it’s highly doubtful the guy is going to make $11 million next year. He has to know that.
The second possibility of course is that this is all a well-staged ploy to generate interest from the team he has never stopped loving, the Philadelphia Phillies.
Yes, I’m sure he still carries a torch for the Phils. After all, it’s where he blossomed into a baseball man.
And you can bet the Phils would love to bring him back. Unfortunately, they’re already paying someone else about $423 million to pitch 70 innings the next 40 years (note: numbers are rough estimates). Unless a trade of Papelbon is in the works (unlikely), or Madson was simply blowing smoke up everyone’s dresses about his desire to close, there doesn’t seem to be a fit in Philly.
Anything more than a one-year, $3 million deal for Madson would be foolish for any team to pay. While most Tommy John surgery recipients typically become their old selves again (Steven Strasburg for one), there’s always a chance the pitcher might not make it back all the way.
It’s a risk.
And Madson might hit the market and find out, like last year, that GMs not named Ruben Amaro don’t want to spend a ton of money on any closer, let alone ones that didn’t pitch a single inning the year before. If that’s the case, a return to the Phillies on a one-year deal as a set-up man would be a no-brainer for both sides, provided Madson isn’t holding a grudge against the organization.
Either way, Madson’s decision to turn down $11 million is a questionable decision, at best.
And it might be a decision that brings him back to Philly.
It’s OK, Ryan. You can say it. You want to come back.
We’ll leave the light on for ya.