It seems like so many free agent pitchers who have already come to terms with a new team this offseason have recently undergone Tommy John surgery, and Ryan Madson is no exception. The Angels, like the Cubs, are totally willing to take a risk for the chance of getting talent for less than market value. In Madson’s case, this means the Angels giving him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. The deal becomes richer if he’s on the roster more ($2.5 million) and even more so if he closes out the requisite number of games ($1 million). We’d give you more specifics, but we don’t have them. If only Ryan Madson would answer our text messages and stop calling the police!
There is always inherent risk in giving money to a pitcher coming off major surgery, but Madson is a good bet for multiple reasons. First off, he won’t cost the Angels much. In this climate, it’s very difficult to pick up a reliever who could potentially offer Madson’s production for such a low price. You needn’t look past the Brandon League and Jeremy Affeldt contracts to figure that out. Madson, when operable, is better than either of those pitchers, and the Angels are only on the hook for a year of his services.
Madson seems like a good bet to close games out for the AL Los Angeles team, and he has the stuff to do so without issue. In his last season on the mound, Madson struck out 9.2/9, walked 2.37/9, and posted a 2.25 FIP in 60 2/3 innings of work. Sounds like a shut down stopper to me! Of course he could always return as damaged goods, but the 32-year-old has the repertoire to dominate, and this is a pretty low-risk, high-reward transaction for the Angels. We’ve been saying it all offseason, but teams would do well to go ahead and take minor risks like this one to fill out their rosters rather than dole out eight figure contracts to the mediocre.