Former Philadelphia Phillies closer Ryan Madson hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011 due to arm surgery (and complications during recovery), but he’s still trying to get back in the game and threw for teams last week. According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, the Tigers had a scout watching, but Beck thinks the Tigers are unlikely to move.
The Tigers did have a scout watching Madson. At this point, though, their interest appears to be limited to due diligence… MLB.com’s Phillies reporter, Todd Zolecki, cited sources saying Madson is seeking a Major League contract. The Tigers have always preferred a minor-league deal with a camp invite if they add anyone
I advocated for the Tigers to take a look at Madson back in December, suggesting that another low-priced lottery ticket arm could make sense if a high-price ‘proven’ arm wasn’t an option for financial reasons, but even then I admitted that a guaranteed major league deal might not be what the team would be looking for:
It would be really nice if the Tigers could add another reliable reliever or two, but if the $4-8 million required to do that isn’t in the budget, then they should be pursuing more of these lottery ticket arms who could (if healthy and effective) pay dividends later on….
It wouldn’t make sense for the Tigers to offer a significant guarantee, but minor league contract offer (with incentives) would be a no-brainer, and even a small major league offer could be under consideration.
According to Beck’s sources, Madson was sitting 91-93 with his fastball. That might be down a tick from how hard he was throwing in his last few healthy seasons (he averaged 93-94), but it’s potentially a good sign for a return to effectiveness in 2014. We’ll have to wait and see if he gets the major league deal he’s looking for, but for now it doesn’t look likely that the reliever ends up wearing the Olde English D in 2014.
But I can still hope. Not that he would certainly make a difference for the bullpen this season, but it still looks like they’ll be searching for help in the late innings. Madson could be that help, if he’s healthy.