Posted by Frank Klose
Some thoughts while I eat my lunch.
How likely is it that Ryan Madson could accept salary arbitration from the Phillies? Since the Texas Rangers signed Joe Nathan, I feel like the odds are increasing.
The following free-agent closer options exist:
- Ryan Madson
- Heath Bell
- Frank Francisco
- Francisco Cordero
- Matt Capps
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Brad Lidge (for arguments sake)
Additionally, Jonathan Broxton just signed as a $4 million set-up man, and
What teams could use a closer?
- Boston Red Sox (maybe; they could sign a backup plan and go with Daniel Bard)
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Minnesota Twins
- Miami Marlins (maybe; they could stick with Leo Nuñez under whatever name he is using these days
- San Diego Padres
- Cincinnati Reds (maybe; Aroldis Chapman could possibly close)
- Baltimore Orioles
- New York Mets
What do these teams mostly have in common? They are not big spenders.
Now, if we match the Boston Red Sox (who have the most money to spend) with Heath Bell, or, if Boston decides to give Daniel Bard first opportunity to close, who is left with money that would sign Ryan Madson to a deal anywhere near the four years, $44 million he reportedly wants?
The only team I can see entertaining the idea is the Toronto Blue Jays. But, the Blue Jays could be satisfied signing a K-Rod or a Matt Capps, who would cost considerably less, or even tell Madson that his price is too high and keep shopping. Then what?
In this scenario I can see both Francisco Cordero accepting arbitration from the Reds and Ryan Madson accepting arbitration from the Phillies. Cordero earned $12.5 million last year, and could earn a comparable salary for one year. Madson could earn $8-9 million in salary abitration next year.
Jim Salisbury imagines the possibility of having both Papelbon and Madson in the bullpen. However, I could see a trade more likely.
Many of the teams in need of a closer that are financially strapped might be more comfortable trading for one year of Madson in the $8-9 million range than they would be signing him to a four-year deal at $11 million per.
Madson's agent Scott Boras has been down this road before with other Phillies.
After Kevin Millwood's 2003 season, one which featured a no-hitter, a steep decline, and a hat angrily thrown at booing fans on the last day of the season, the Phillies traded Nick Punto and Carlos Silva to the Minnesota Twins for Eric Milton, who would be their new "ace" to replace Millwood. After perusing free agency, Boras realized there was no market for Millwood, and Millwood accepted the Phillies' offer of arbitration.
In the end, Millwood made out much better by spending that one extra year with the Phillies and then signing a four-year contract with an option with the Texas Rangers, and Millwood earned $60 million over that five-year span.
Next offseason Mariano Rivera could very well retire. Rafael Soriano either will have a poor year and stay a Yankee to close or he will have a strong year and opt of of his contract. There could be a greater market for a closer then.
The Phillies probably look forward to a compensatory draft pick for losing Madson. However, compensation could come more quickly in a trade to satisfy more immediate needs (outfield, shortstop) or long-term needs (young infielders, pitching).
My gut sees both Madson and Cordero accepting arbitration in this odd free-agent year.