It’s official. Ryan Madson will not return to the Phillies.
It was apparent that Mad Dog’s run with the club was over after the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to a $50 million deal in November. But some fans hoped the Phillies could ink Madson to a deal to set up Papelbon when the closer market began to dry up.
However, Madson is unavailable since Cincinnati signed Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million deal. The 31-year-old proved he could finish games last season by converting 32-of-34 saves.
After the Phillies’ season ended abruptly at the hands of St. Louis in early October, Madson hoped that he would remain in Philadelphia. And it appeared that the Phillies and Madson were close to signing a multi-year deal in early November. But the agreement was never consummated.
Former Phillies closer and current MLB analyst Mitch Williams believes that Madson would have been back if it weren’t for his choice of agent, Scott Boras.
“I believe the reason that the Phillies ultimately didn’t sign Ryan Madson has nothing to do with him and everything to do with his representation,” Williams said. “I just don’t think the Phillies wanted to satisfy Scott Boras. How many Phillies are represented by Boras? None. When [Jayson] Werth signed with Boras, he wasn’t coming back to the Phillies.
“I think the Phillies-Boras war started when J.D. Drew wouldn’t sign with the Phillies [in 1997] and it continues today. So the Phillies signed the next best thing with Jonathan Papelbon. It’s a shame since I don’t think Boras is good for the game. He’s good for the players he represents. But I feel bad for Ryan. He was a great fit for the Phillies.”
Aside from emerging as one of the game’s best relievers, Madson was the clubhouse clown. He often kept the team loose.
“I always have had fun with that side of the game,” Madson said during the regular season. “Somebody has to do it.”
Well, Madson will be cracking jokes and closing games for the Reds next season.
“I think the Phillies will be fine,” Williams said. “But I think they could have had Madson, who is a very good pitcher, for considerably less than Papelbon, if Boras wasn’t his agent.”
Williams helped Madson deal with the mental aspects of closing after the long, lanky hurler had trouble finishing games in 2009 and 2010.
“I spent hours with Ryan telling him that the pressure is not on the pitcher in the ninth inning,” Williams said. “I told him that he has always been very good in the eighth inning and that’s when the pressure is on the pitcher.
“Whenever I went out there in the ninth inning, I didn’t feel a bit of pressure. Last year, Ryan didn’t either. I don’t think he’ll feel it next year. He’s a heck of a closer now, but he won’t be doing it in a Phillies uniform.”
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