Phillies/Madson Deal Could Set the Market Too High
The Phillies are reportedly in discussions to sign closer Ryan Madson to a 4-year, $44MM contract. If they do, they will set the bar for the free agent closers market.
It’s an inordinately high number of years and money for a closer. The agreement would be similar, if less dramatic, to the 7-year, $126MM deal signed by Jayson Werth last offseason. That contract drove the market for position players. Later that winter, the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford to a 7-year, $142MM deal and Adrian Gonzalez to a 7-year $154MM deal.
This offseason, if Madson is signed, free agent closers like Jonathan Papelbon will be licking their chops. And teams like the Mets, who desperately need a ninth-inning solution, will be palming their foreheads.
The Mets will likely not sign someone like Jonathan Papelbon, who figures to already require “Ryan Madson money.” But the market price will rise for closers like ex-Mets Heath Bell and Francisco Rodriguez, as well as riskier free agents like Francisco “CoCo” Cordero (at 37 years old, age is his risk), Frank Francisco (health), Brad Lidge (health), and Joe Nathan (age and health).
New York is also thin on in-house options. Both Bobby Parnell and Manny Acosta were given chances to close in September. Parnell blew 4 of 7 save chances that month. Acosta enjoyed some success, converting 4 out 6 save opportunities. Given the small sample size, however, he was not impressive enough to earn the ninth inning job for 2012. Jason Isringhausen did yeoman’s work following K-Rod’s departure, but the 38 year-old was obviously never in the team’s long-term plans.
In addition, GM Sandy Alderson has stated that revamping the bullpen will be a priority. “Of course the bullpen was a big disappointment — overall and certainly the last two months of the season,” he said. Certainly, he will look outside the organization for help.
With the Alderson’s team already on a tight budget, their search for a new closer will become that much more difficult. So, keep an eye on the negotiations between the Phillies and Ryan Madson. The outcome will affect the Mets.