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To Mad Dog or not to Mad Dog

The Peculiar Case of Ryan Madson

I thought since all we ever hear anymore is this Penn State scandal that we switch gears for a minute. I was listening to sports radio today and almost the whole day was spent on the Penn State ordeal. The other part was spent commiserating about the lowly Eagles. It is clear in my mind as to who the best, classiest organization in town is: The Philadelphia Phillies. However, there has been some news as of late that hurts the Phillies’ reputation.

The Case FOR Madson

Look, Ryan Madson is a great pitcher do not get me wrong. He has been our elite setup man and since Lidge’s injuries, our closer. He has been moved around to a lot of different roles, even being asked to start games at one point. It was disastrous. He gave up too many homers and his ERA was abysmal. Since moving to the setup role (Primary 8th inning guy), Ryan Madson has been as good as any in the majors. As a closer (most consistently in 2011) he was 32/34 in save opportunities and came in and shut the door on many teams in tight spots. This is the case for giving Ryan Madson another deal. He is a great clubhouse guy, familiar with our system, and has been very good the last couple of years.

The Case AGAINST Madson

While Madson is a good pitcher, the sample size is still VERY small compared to other closers in the league who are now free agents. Jonathan Papelbon (say what you will) has been a closer his whole career (6 years) and Heath Bell had almost as many saves in one season as Madson has had in his career (43, Madson with 50). Comparing age, Madson will be 31 as the season starts next year. Papelbon ( 31 ) and Bell (34) have 219 and 134 saves respectively. You look at these stats and they blow you away. Why give Madson the kind of money Ruben wanted to give him with such a small sample size? Why have the Phillies set the market for closers when there is more than one closer available who would still be VERY serviceable?

The Ultimate Decision

Ryan Madson is certainly due a BIG raise on any team. However, his services as a closer were only needed because Jose Contreras’ injury forced Madson into duty. We may not even be having this conversation if Madson were still in his usual 8th inning role. While he has been our best and most consistent pitcher out of the bullpen, Ryan Madson does NOT need to return to the Phillies at the price Ruben and Scott Boras’ has set. In my previous post about the Phillies, I stated that the team must get younger and hungrier. Closer is one position that is immune to this tactic (See Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera). My answer for the Phillies is to go ahead and seek others’ services. David Montgomery is right to put the brakes on this deal. NOBODY should pay Madson 44-57 million dollars, especially the Phillies who are so deficient in other areas and are looking for upgrades.

I love the hot stove,

Seth

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