Angels Say They Won’t Add Madson
Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told Mike Giovanna of the LA Times today that they were focused more on adding depth to their bullpen, and weren’t in the market for an expensive closer like Madson.
In the article, Dipoto said “We’re trying to add depth, and in a perfect world, we’d like to find another guy to join Jordan Walden, Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins to help with those last nine outs. But closer has never been the real priority.”
Considering the Angels have spent roughly $325 million on two players this offseason (Pujols and C.J. Wilson) it’s not surprising that Anaheim might be looking at a cheaper option to close out games, especially considering the cost ineffectiveness of paying big money for a closer in the first place. Jordan Walden did a pretty good job closing for them last year (32 saves, 2.93ERA, 10 blown saves) and figures to improve in his second full year in the Majors.
So, where does this leave the jilted bride? Cincinnati still needs a closer, and they appear to be making a run at a division title this year. They’ve made some bold moves (namely acquring Matt Latos from San Diego) and see an opening in the NL Central, where Pujols is already out of the division and Prince Fielder could soon follow. They have only $65 million guaranteed for 2012 at the moment and even though it’s not a big market, they could probably afford to pay Madson the roughly three-year, $33 million deal he’s likely looking for.
And while the Reds do play in a bandbox, they have some good young positional talent, a decent top-of-the-rotation, and were in the playoffs just two years ago, so Madson could convince himself he’s headed to a potential winner. It makes a lot of sense.
The other team in need of a closer is St. Louis. Do they like the idea of Jason Motte or Mitchell Boggs as their closer? Motte was the 9th inning man during their playoff run last year. He throws hard, is cheap and is young. They may think that Motte, or someone else in their bullpen, is their man heading forward to close out ballgames.
Cincinnati would make the most sense, and seems like a good fit for both. And who knows? The Angels might just be playing a coy game with Scott Boras in an attempt to get the price down.
For Phillies fans, the possibility of Madson returning to the in a set-up role cannot be ruled out yet. The longer his contract limbo goes, it becomes more possible that Madson might take a one-year, $6-7 million deal with incentives to come back, set up Jonathan Papelbon and then re-enter the market next year when there are fewer relievers in free agency.
I’d say it’s still a longshot, but not out of the realm of possibility.