As first reported by Jerry Crasnick of of ESPN.com, the Oakland Athletics have agreed to a deal with free agent reliever Ryan Madson. It is not that shocking that the A’s went after a more prominent relief pitcher this offseason to boost their bullpen. The Athletics had stated to the press numerous times that money was not an issue this season as the team underwent yet another rebuild.
However, the more surprising aspect of this signing is the deal that Oakland offered Madson. Per reports, the A’s are going to offer Madson a three year, $22 million dollar contract. This deal will not be finalized until Madson passes a physical.
For a player who missed three entire seasons from 2012-2014, this payday seems a little high. Earlier this offseason, MLBTradeRumors.com estimated that Madson would receive a modest $15 million, three year deal. Even though Madson had a great 2015 season, this estimate seemed reasonable since he did miss so much time recently due to injury and he initially began this past year by signing a Minor League contract with the Kansas City Royals.
The Athletics upped the approximation by seven million dollars, which could be a risky move for them. Madson is known to be injury-prone and he is 35-years-old. Do they really think he will be able to pitch effectively through his 39th birthday in 2018?
Additionally, the A’s have repeatedly said that they are building for the future. They are really counting on their young talent to come up from their farm system and shine in the big leagues. So, when adding players to the roster, one would think that Oakland would like to bring in someone who has a little bit more of a promising future with the team. Yes, the A’s want to add veteran players to their roster to take on the leadership role in the clubhouse and mentor the rookie players. But, there are still experienced, yet younger relievers out there who would provide a more optimistic future for the team’s bullpen.
Fans will not know if the Oakland Athletics made the right move until the 2016 season begins. Perhaps the A’s are hoping that the success of players like Madson and Rich Hill, who both had come back seasons in 2015, will continue for a few more years. This was the case with Scott Kazmir when the Athletics signed him to a two year, $22 million dollar contract. When Oakland inked the deal with Kazmir back in 2013, he had only pitched one good season since returning from a two-year hiatus from Major League Baseball. Like the Kazmir signing, let’s hope history will repeat itself with Madson.