Jerry Dipoto and his aggressive (or is it impatient?) off-season strategy are at it again. Reports are circulating from multiple outlets that the Angels are on the verge of completing a one-year contract with reliever Ryan Madson.
If that proves to be true, and I think after the Haren debacle that we all have learned to not count on anything until it is made official, then the Halos will have addressed one of their biggest needs, late-inning relief help. Or at least that is what they hope they have done considering that Madson missed all of the 2012 season with Tommy John surgery. He is supposed to be ready to play, or close to it, by Opening Day.
That recovery is the reason that Madson is getting just a one-year deal, though their are reports of some team options in there as well. What we don't yet know is how much Madson will be making, though it is worth noting that he turned down a $11 million option with the Reds this year, instead taking a $2.5 million buyout. As such, one would imagine that his salary this year and option buyout next year will be around the $8.5 millon mark at a minimum, which is interesting because Dipoto was quoted several times as saying he would never spend big on a reliever. Of course, with Scott Boras prominently involved, these things are impossible to predict. Although, hey, Dipoto did a deal with Boras! That's cause for celebration, no? Especially with Boras-client Kendrys Morales heading into free agency after this season.
What we also don't know is just how Madson will be used. He is a guy who very badly wants to be a closer, but he will also have to prove his effectiveness once again before being handed that role, or at least we should hope that is the case. Maybe he will claim the job by mid-season or maybe the Angels will never name a closer. Just the other day Dipoto was quoted when talking about the prospect of signing Madson or another closer-type had this to say:
I don't want to get locked into the idea that there's one guy that pitches the ninth,it's a combination of guys that get the last nine outs.
That certainly suggests that even after Madson is fully healthy, he could find himself in a committee-type situation with Ernie Frieri and maybe even Scott Downs too. That is an arrangement I'd love to see, but whether or not Scioscia will go for it remains to be seen.
We'll have more on this signing as details trickle out, but rest assured that Jerry Dipoto is doing his best to put an end to the era of the Bullpen of Perpetual Sorrow. Although I'd argue that signing a recovering Madson still isn't enough.
UPDATE: It seems that this is pretty much official pending the physical:
Madson 1-year deal, per industry source, is expected to be formalized today upon passing of physical. Indeed, it's low-base, high-incentive.
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) November 27, 2012
If the low-base part of the deal is true, this could be a real coup for Dipoto, especially since the incentives are likely save-based.