My real job has been pretty busy for me of late, and I haven't been able to stay up on the baseball news as much as I have in the past, but I heard early last evening that the Phillies were close to signing closer Ryan Madson to a 4 year, $44 million contract.
I was shocked.
I reached out to a Philies fan and he responded to the news saying that the team did not learn from the Brad Lidge contract, that you cannot sign a closer to a long-term contract because they burn out so quickly. I have to say that the Dodgers do a good job in not paying much for their closers as they seem to be able to keep bringing up hard throwing prospects to step into the closers role.
Are the Phillies overpaying for Madson? My thoughts after the jump:
Madson took over the Phillies closer job and never looked back, as he converted 32 of his 34 save opportunities, with a 2.37 ERA, 2.25 FIP and 2.94 xFIP. He struck out 62 and walked 16 in 60.2 innings of work. Madson benefitted from a strand rate of 80.7% and an extremely low 3.7% HR/FB rate, the lowest of his career.
Madson had a dominating season in 2011, but this is the first time he has ever been a full-time closer. He saved 32 games this season and has just 52 career saves. I am shocked that the Phillies wouldn't go after a more experienced closer, especially with Heath Bell possibly on the market, Jonathan Papelbon and Francisco Rodriguez also on the market. Any one of these 3 closers are more experienced than Madson, and the Phillies cannot risk overpaying for Madson, when they are built to win now. Overpaying for an experience closer makes more sense to me.
This tweet from ESPN's Buster Olney says it all:
Buster_ESPN Buster Olney
Progression for Ryan Madson:A year ago PHI would've never considered him as closer candidate. Now they give him a B.J. Ryan deal, at age 31.
The fantasy implications are excellent for Madson. It also says that closers-in-waiting Phillippe Aumont and Justin de Fratus don't have a chance to close unless Madson falters along the way. With the way closers burn out, they could get their chance as early as 2012, but that is very hard to predict.
For more thoughts on the Madson signing, check out The Good Phight, SB Nation's Phillies site. They appear more optimistic on the signing than I am.