Shortly after Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Oakland Athletics were not longer in the hunt for top free agent reliever Darren O’Day, another reliever surfaced in the A’s rumor mill. Jane Lee of MLB.com wrote that the Athletics are highly interested in free agent veteran relief pitcher Ryan Madson. Even more surprising is the fact that Oakland is actually a “legitimate suitor” for signing Madson.
After earning a World Series Championship with the Kansas City Royals and posting good numbers in 2015, it is not surprising that numerous teams are interested in Madson. Some of the rumored teams looking to sign this relief pitcher are the Toronto Blue Jays, the Detroit Tigers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite missing the entire of 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, teams are interested in him now because he made such a great comeback this past season.
In 2015, he maintained a 2.13 ERA with 58 strikeouts over 63.1 innings. Additionally, Madson had a 0.96 WHIP, three saves, and 20 holds. Even though he is 35 years old, he could provide some much needed leadership and stability to the Oakland Athletics’ bullpen.
Now that the A’s have lost Drew Pomeranz to a trade with the San Diego Padres, they are going to need another powerful arm in the bullpen. With nine years of MLB experience, Madson could fill that hole very well. Additionally, he does have some closing experience unlike recent bullpen addition Liam Hendriks. So, Madson could backup Sean Doolittle when needed. However, there is some concern about him wanting a multi-year deal.
Madson does deserve a multi-year deal after the success he had in 2015 if it were not for his age and injury history. It would be a shame to sign him to a long term deal only for him to end up on the disabled list – or worse – be out for the entire season. If the A’s really do want him, they are going to have to take that risk.
It is well known around the league that the Oakland Athletics are looking to boost their bullpen. But with so many young ballplayers on the roster and coming up from the Minors, does it make sense to sign an older player to a multi-year contract? Shouldn’t the A’s try to leverage Brett Lawrie as a trading pawn in order to gain some younger bullpen arms rather than scour the free agent market? The Athletics still have a lot of decisions to make this offseason and it will be interesting to see how those decisions shape the 2016 team.