–We still await word on the finality of the Ryan Madson deal. According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, they are awaiting the approval of David Montgomery, and have for the last 24-plus hours. No word on what is holding up his end of the deal at this point.
From my perspective, the four-year, $44 million deal with a fifth-year option at $13 million seems very, very high for a relief pitcher. I’m a big fan of Madson and enjoy the stability he brings as the ninth inning guy. But I can’t help but think this really takes away from a lot of different scenarios now and in the future – all for a guy who gets three outs. Closers may not grow on trees, but as the Braves proved last year, you can find young guys to get the job done.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com is also reporting that Jonathan Papelbon is still in the mix for the team. How much cheaper would he come? Probably not much. However, if the Phillies were to get Papelbon at $10 million over three seasons without any option, is it a better outcome for the team? The issue still is giving up a draft pick to sign a guy like Papelbon. Among the closers that would cost the Phillies a lot of money AND a draft pick: Papelbon, Heath Bell, Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, and Francisco Rodriguez. Perhaps Ruben Amaro is leery of giving both of those up – he’d rather keep his own guy at a higher price with the ability to bolster the farm system with a prospect or two in the draft.
–According to Fox 29, Michael Cuddyer was in Philadelphia yesterday talking to the team. Free Agent trips like this are commonplace, however, the Phillies have been hot on the trail of Cuddyer now since free agency began.
The sense in the baseball community is that Cuddyer will seek roughly $10 million per season on a three-year deal, with a fourth year possible. That to me also seems a little bit high. What happened to Ruben Amaro wanting to get younger? That’s certainly not the way.
Also, if Madson signs at $11 million per season and Cuddyer inks a deal for the same, the Phillies will have roughly $8-10 million to spend, if my calculations are correct. Is that enough for Jimmy Rollins, not to mention other positions that need to be taken care of? Amaro told Jim Duquette of Sirius/MX’s MLB Network Radio yesterday that the payroll would be about the same. If that’s the case, then signing Cuddyer would seem to be it. Something seems fishy. I think if the Phillies want both Madson and Cuddyer at that price, then they have to go near $180 million, or above it – depending on where the luxury tax sits this year.
–The Phillies are also keeping tabs on Roy Oswalt. How does he fit into the equation? I honestly have no idea. A pitching-desperate team like the Nationals is sure to be able to offer Oswalt more. The question then becomes, is it about making more money to end his career, or figuring out how to get that so-far elusive title he’s been seeking since his glory days in Houston?
–What do ticket prices have to do with free agency? Well, when they go up at Citizens Bank Park, you’d hope the Phillies would be able to use to acquire more talent. That’s exactly what’s happening, according to the Philadelphia Inquire. Hall of Fame and infield seats will rise $5 per ticket, with baseline seats seeing a $3 increase.