In his recent mailbag column, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury hinted that the Phillies might be interested in bringing back a popular member of the 2008 championship team:
I hear that Madson has some interest in rejoining the Phillies, as well. Obviously, he has missed the last two seasons with elbow problems, but at 33 he might be an excellent low-risk, potential high-reward signing. Madson blossomed into one of the best relievers in baseball during his time in Philadelphia — his emergence was huge in winning the 2008 World Series — and is familiar with the organization, its leaders, its medical people and many of the players. We hear Madson will audition for clubs early in the New Year and the Phillies will surely keep tabs on him. He’d probably have to take a minor-league deal and prove himself, but a Philadelphia reunion might serve him and the team well.
I was a huge fan of Madson both due to his on-field success and his off-field awesomeness. His late-inning domination was a big reason why the Phillies were so successful from 2007 through 2011. I was upset that the team let him leave as a free agent, although in hindsight, the team dodged a bullet. If you think Jonathan Papelbon is overpaid, just imagine if they had signed Madson to a long-term deal and he hadn’t been able to throw a major league pitch over the past two seasons.
It’s somewhat surprising that Madson would want to return to the Phillies considering how poorly his last set of negotiations with the team seemed to go. I suppose that missing two straight seasons with an injury will make a player much more forgiving.
It’s hard to know if Madson will ever be able to regain his past level of dominance or even be able to pitch for a major league team again, but it isn’t like the Phillies would have to pay him a lot of money to find out. If he would be willing to sign a minor league deal, then it would certainly seem worth the Phillies’ while to give a former fan favorite a chance.