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  1. Phillies appear to have lost big, too. They dove in early and what they assumed was a crazy market, and they appear to have badly overpaid for a closer.

    Comment by Dan — December 29, 2011 @ 10:35 am

  2. How much of it has to do with his agent? The guy with the reputation of being the greediest one out there who stubbornly waits to deal until the very last minute to hold out for more money? This looks to me like what happens when he loses, and Mad Dog will be the one really losing out.

    Comment by Paul — December 29, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  3. It just bothers me as a Phillies fan that Madson will sign for next to nothing compared to the ridiculous contract they gave Papelbon. They wait out Rollins but not Madson, I just don’t understand it.

    Comment by Anthony — December 29, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  4. What? The Phillies overpaid for something? Never happens!

    Comment by Bryan — December 29, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  5. Probably some combination of Madson and the agent. An agent can only advise, but Madson could have easily accepted the deal offered by the Phils or anyone else for that matter. Instead of $8.0 mil/yr, let’s hold out for $10 mil/yr!? This for a guy with a very limited track record as a closer. I hope he lands with the Pads or some non-contender on a one year deal, and then implodes. Hopefully that will teach, both Madson and the agent, a valuable lesson. Greedy F*#ks!

    Comment by Shane — December 29, 2011 @ 10:48 am

  6. How was the contract ridiculous? It was a slight overpay, but in line with what other closers have been getting per WAR this offseason. Ridiculous means something else.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — December 29, 2011 @ 10:56 am

  7. said the same thing last year about rafael soriano.

    never doubt boras… or randy levine’s propensity to do something stupid.

    Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — December 29, 2011 @ 11:04 am

  8. highest contract ever for a reliever. For a very good, but not far and away the best reliever. That is what is ridiculous. And to say that it is in line with other contracts this year is dumb because his contract preceded any other contract this season, thus setting the rate.

    Comment by Kyle — December 29, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  9. Ridiculous in that paying $14 million per season for ANY closer…and I include mo.rivera in this group…is STUPID.

    Comment by tuna411 — December 29, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  10. Maybe the Cards come knocking? They have some money, and their bullpen was built with scraps last year, albeit good scraps. I think Madson is an upgrade over motte

    Comment by Kyle — December 29, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  11. I think this is the fist time I’ve seen another Shane commenting… Weird.

    Was it ever reviled what happened with the Phillies and Madson? It seemed like they had a deal, ownership nixed it, and then signed a larger deal for Paplebon.

    Comment by Shane — December 29, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  12. No — there were rumors but they were essentially shot down. Sounded like Phils didn’t want to go beyond 3 yrs for Madson despite the initially reported 4/$44 offer.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — December 29, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  13. If I were Texas I’d offer Madson 3/24. Nathan’s no sure bet this year, nevermind subsequent years.

    Comment by Oliver — December 29, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  14. Madson seems like a good guy, and I’m sorry his big payday will be delayed…however, it’s delightful to see Boras get his comeuppance. He used his mouthpiece, Jon Heyman, to broadcast as a fait accompli the contract he wanted and imply that Amaro had to ask his daddy for permission to do the deal. Can’t blame Amaro from walking away from the table in disgust. (But I can blame him for giving 5 years to the only other guy he saw as a “proven closer.”)

    Comment by Dr. Schadenfreude — December 29, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  15. “limited track record as a closer”

    Uggh, spare me the experience argument.

    Comment by Pete — December 29, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  16. Woah, another Oliver? Weird.

    Madson was a cool guy in and around philly, always nice to the fans, seemed like a good kid. Calling him a “greedy f#$&” doesn’t seem right in my mind. The problem strikes me thus:

    The teams prepared to recognize he’s a fantastic reliever regardless of role (more sabermetric) are the same ones who know/are learning that you don’t shell out 3-4 years at double-digits for a bullpen arm.

    The teams who are willing to do that are the same ones who will be more likely to make that decision based on Saves, of which Madson has few.

    it’s unfortunate, but he’s getting it on both ends here, and I don’t think taking a one-year deal to be a setup man would have been a good idea here. The best scenario is to take a 1-year deal to close for a low-midlevel team, get more saves and then hit the market again next year.

    Comment by Oliver — December 29, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  17. It would be interesting to look at the projected contracts for Madson and Fielder from October 1 and what they actually sign for. It is beginning to look like Boras is getting his bluff called more often by GMs.

    Also, it’s beginning to look like some organizations are de-valuing the closer role. I never could understand the contracts that were given to guys that pitch 70 innings per year. Madson, Cordero and KRod accepting arbitration are signs that maybe the days of throwing crazy long term money at the bullpen is winding down.

    Comment by Cecil Cooper's Twin — December 29, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  18. Average yearly salary is less than Mo and considering the age difference is rather have Papelpon. Obviously the Phils would have been better hanging on to Madson if they could have paid him 10 million or less and as a Phils fan I’d have been fine with them not having either Papelbon or Madson and going with their young pen arms, but the contract is hardly ridiculous or stupid considering the teams payroll. I don’t understand why people feel the need to exaggerate constantly.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — December 29, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  19. He ain’t going to the Pads – they traded for Huston Street.

    Comment by DD — December 29, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  20. they still have darvish’s contract to sign, but if that doesn’t pan out, they very well might

    Comment by jim — December 29, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  21. “as a Phils fan”

    say no more

    Comment by Alan — December 29, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  22. We say that every year, and yet Boras still delivers.

    Comment by Ratwar — December 29, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  23. It would be nice if those days are winding down, but there is more evidence against than for. Besides the Papelbon, Heath, Nathan, etc. deals mentioned above, there is the Giants $10M or so for 2 OK but not great LOOGY’s, Affeldt and Lopez.

    Comment by Baltar — December 29, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  24. Exactly. People are writing comments as if Madson just signed a 1 year, $7MM contract on a crappy team. Let’s wait and see what he actually gets before we criticize the guy. It’s not looking great for him now, but Boras has gotten out of bigger messes.

    Comment by vivalajeter — December 29, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  25. “Madson was a cool guy in and around philly, always nice to the fans, seemed like a good kid.” Really?!,,,opining, but not fact, right? In light of the reports about one Mrs. Madson, it would have been interesting to see what would have come from a “marriage” with the Red Sox, based on this –

    That aside, IMO, the Phillies used Boras…reports come out about 4/$44, with a 5th vesting year for a Madson return…having established that baseline, and likely having an idea of what it would take to sign Papelbon (and knowing that the Levinson brothers prefer to be ahead of the market in getting their players signed), ownership plays “bad cop” and decides the difference between the two 4 year deals is more than palatable, and decides to spend the extra money on the more established closer – Papelbon.

    Do I believe that Papelbon will outperform Madson over the next 5 years?…I’m not that smart, nor that expert…but he will outearn Madson…significantly.

    Nicely played by the brothers, Levinson, in reading the market, where it was, and how it would unfold, and by the Phillies front office, at least in terms of getting what they wanted for their millions, regardless of the players execution on the field.

    Comment by George — December 29, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  26. “…regardless of the players execution on the field.”

    ok, then. moving on.

    Comment by Mario Mendoza — December 29, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  27. There is literally no contract that certain fans can’t justify.

    Comment by Ari Collins — December 29, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

  28. I think we should wait to make this proclamation, if there’s one thing to never do with baseball, it’s underestimate Scott Boras.

    Comment by Moe Koltun — December 29, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  29. I doubt it happens. If so, Madson would set up for Motte rather than vice versa and that makes for a VERY expensive set-up guy. Motte’s numbers from mid-May to the end of the year were incredible. More likely, the Reds might end up with a good closer for the same amount they would have had to pay to keep Cordero.

    Comment by — December 29, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  30. Any chance someone tries to convert Madson back to starting?

    Comment by TT — December 29, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  31. I know the closer market is not a reasonable market, but it’s strange to juxtapose the proclamation that Madson will get a wildly favorable deal a little over the $7 million Cordero is projected to get with FanGraphs’ metrics showing Madson was just barely worth $7 million for the first time last year in his best season.

    Comment by cpebbles — December 29, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  32. So Pete, you think his one year of closing is worthy of his lofty contract demands!? Hmmm, I guess that’s why so many GM’s have been willing to take him up on them!

    Also, howdy Shane, we are multiplying.

    Comment by Shane — December 29, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  33. Shane #1,

    I would say that his track record as a top 15 reliever in baseball along with his young age and excellent stuff/command/control qualify him for those lofty demands.

    There is some information conveyed by a reliever’s ability to close games, but to put a WAG number on it, we’re probably looking at half a mil per season.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — December 29, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  34. You do bring up an interesting point.

    The Phillies could have waited out the market for as long as they wanted, but they still needed to sign a closer this offseason at some point. Maybe they save a few mil or shave a year of a deal by waiting deep into the offseason, or maybe Papelbon and Madson both sign elsewhere and the Phillies are left signing Francisco Cordero.

    The Phillies clearly want a guy who can basically auto-convert those 8 innings starts from Halladay, Lee, and Hamels into wins. That meant they absolutely were going to sign Madson or Papelbon. That was readily apparent from the outset of the offseason.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — December 29, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  35. No chance.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — December 29, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  36. Even worse, they still have to pay compensation for Papelbon, which makes the deal ever that much more awful.

    Comment by Will — December 29, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  37. how do we know Madson hasnt turned down some offers that he now regrets?

    Comment by cs3 — December 29, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

  38. I could see the Phillies bringing him in on a 2 yr/18 m deal as the setup man to papelbon. Their bullpen was shaky last season, he could solidify plus build up his market value for the 2014 season.

    Comment by phils phan 100 — December 29, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  39. you’re right…they should have waited it out and re-signed madson to a 3 yr/28 m deal… the money they spent would have been better spent on a guy like Michael Cuddyer

    Comment by phils phan 100 — December 29, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  40. madson is a HORSE.. deserves 4/40.

    Comment by ULI — December 29, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  41. Who’s to say the Red Sox don’t sneak back in a grab Madson on the semi-cheap? Melancon and Bailey each have warts. Madson would give them an excellent pen almost no matter what happened and would ensure they don’t need to move Bard back there to plug a hole.

    Comment by The Dude — December 29, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  42. What?! Are you seriously saying we should have signed Cuddyer? The guy who is getting paid $10 mil a year and would have no place to play on this Phillies team? I thought we went over this months ago how Cuddyer wouldn’t fit.

    Comment by Rich — December 29, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  43. Brad – I don’t disagree with that, but I see what Shayne’s saying there. We can talk about WAG and all the stats, but there is something to holding down the closer’s role over at least a few seasons which has merit. You can probably count on one hand (Paps, Mo and Bell come to mind) that have been great closers over say the last few years. Even guys like Marmol and Wilson looked pretty hittable last year and most teams have had a revolving door because those guys who had really good years struggled afterwards.

    To say that Madson deserved a long-term contract for that kind of coin, I find kind of laughable.

    Comment by Josh — December 29, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  44. Who cares if Madson is youngish. Jonathan Broxton says HI. Billy Koch too.

    Comment by Corey — December 29, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  45. honestly, that’s not a bad comp…they could set the contract up like soriano’s–with a 1 year opt out if the closer market looks promising in 2012.

    we’ll see…this might be madson’s best shot at a 3 year deal…

    Comment by cable fixer — December 29, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

  46. yeah, the guy with a superb K/BB ratio…the one with 14.7 WAR since 06…the one who’s younger than madson…yeah, “proven” is the only thing he’s got going for him…

    Comment by cable fixer — December 29, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

  47. couldn’t agree more…the nathan does not happen in a world where closers aren’t overpaid.

    Comment by delitegroove — December 29, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  48. err, nathan deal*

    Comment by delitegroove — December 29, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  49. IMO, Red Sox have been sensitive regarding the luxury tax limit. Ideally, they would like to stay at/under it this year, so as to “reset” it back to 17%, rather than go over it again, pushing it to 40% of any overage.

    If they are to go over it, I’d bet it is for a SP, as opposed to Madson, but as mentioned, they’ll first exhaust all options towards resetting the luxury tax.

    Comment by George — December 29, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

  50. Regardless, the market will drive what he receives, not what he and his agent feel he is entitled to/deserves.

    Comment by George — December 29, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

  51. teams won’t see it that way…. it’s a matter of size. and 4/40 is too big, even for a horse.

    Comment by Montgomery Burns — December 29, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

  52. You would think that on Fangraphs we would have people checking the facts before resorting to knee-jerk reactions.

    Pabelbon’s deal is market rate based on the $/WAR model (which is generally not very kind to reliever contracts). The risk comes in terms of length.

    Comment by Phils_Goodman — December 29, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

  53. I’d like to see someone like the Royals or Indians give him a 3 year, $30 million as a starting pitcher. Worse case, he has to go back to the pen, medium case you trade him to someone desperate for a closer over the next couple years, best case you get a starter with good surplus value. Crazy idea, I know.

    Comment by Mike — December 30, 2011 @ 12:49 am

  54. A horse?? 4/40?? No way, I say give the guy 1 year at $830,000. Hard to see this guy coming in and finishing teams off for an extended period of time

    Comment by Yearning For A Burning — December 30, 2011 @ 9:06 am

  55. While understanding that many guys “could” be great closers…. Or underplaying the experience factor, I think of it like this: with a tournament on the line, and a 7 foot putt to make would you rather have tiger woods (prior to waitress-gate) who has proven time and time again how he can get the job done… Or would you roll the dice that someone not quite as good would finish it off? I feel like going for the more experienced, established player isnt a bad thing at all and people are bitching more now that madson will be had on the cheap with no teams bidding for him. I can understand not loving the pap contract but the rest of our pen is young and makes peanuts for a few years so I don’t have a problem with the upgrade or it’s cost

    Comment by Don M — December 30, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  56. I’m with Shane. It’s fine to ask for something, but you should be reasonable in your demands or you will price yourself out the market. I think that’s the case with Madson. There’s no way I would have considered giving him close to what he was asking for relative to what some other closers are making.

    Also to the guy above that said track record doesn’t mean anything, I think you should go through every team over the last 5 years and see how many closers they’ve used. It will blow your mind.

    Comment by Jason — December 30, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  57. Yes, because saying I would rather they not have signed him to the contract is a justification. I know nuance is difficult for most people to understand these days, but there is a key distinction between ‘bad’ and ‘ridiculous.’ Everything needs to be ‘awesome,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘worst ever,’ ridiculous,’ ect. You guys need to buy an OED and thesaurus.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — December 30, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  58. It’s ridiculous in the fact that they gave a guy $50 million to pitch one inning a game. I just think they could have used all those resources you mentioned for other, more pressing needs.

    Comment by Anthony — December 30, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  59. I agree on that point, I’m more upset with that fact that they may have been able to re-sign Madson for close to the same/less annual price at less years.

    Comment by Anthony — December 30, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  60. i’m not sold on the papelbon deal, either, but the phillies will get some sort of compensation once madson signs elsewhere.

    i think this is a case where boras blew it.

    Comment by PYW — December 30, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  61. The Angels on a 1 yr deal for 10-11 million make sense for Madson. I can see the Angels in the playoffs next year with a dependable closer, perhaps deep in the playoffs, which can’t hurt Madsons market value. Also, except for Texas, nice pitchers parks in the AL West (including home park) and the Mariners and A’s offense are minor league, so he should put up some nice numbers before testing FA again.

    Pujols contract is backloaded so the Angels can afford Madson on a short contract.

    Madson would be a fool to go to the Red Sox on a 1 yr deal with Bailey and Bard as competition for the closer spot, a tough pitchers park and a tough division for pitchers. Valentine is not 100% committed to Bard as starter, and a rough patch for the closer that replaces Papelbon would have Red Sox Nation screaming for Bard to close.

    Comment by pft — December 30, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

  62. FG metric ignores runs allowed. Some of us think thats a skill that should not be ignored. B-Refs metric has him valued in 2011 at 2.2 WAR (9.9 million using FG conversion).

    Comment by pft — December 30, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

  63. How bout the A’s on a 1 year $10M deal. Beane has created a lot of available payroll, and being able to ship Madsen at mid year for some prospects would be a great use of $5M, plus he’ll get the moronic local fans off his back for a little while.

    Comment by ValueArb — December 30, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

  64. Yeah, anyone can close. Right, Matt Thornton?

    Although we don;t like it in our universe, there is some value in being able to handle the pressure of being a closer.

    I’m certain that someone has produced a mass study of setup men turned closer and how they’ve fared. Anyone know of where we could find it?

    It might not be as obvious or as cut and dried as we make it out to me.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 30, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

  65. Papelbon is better than Madson, so of course he costs more. There are a lot of things you’re going to be upset about in hindsight.

    Comment by Phils_Goodman — December 30, 2011 @ 10:41 pm

  66. And? He was worth 3.0 WAR last season. Assuming he is worth 2.5 WAR a year they are paying him 5 million per win, which is slightly above market price (assuming $/WAR doesn’t increase). Do you really think paying 5 million per win is ridiculous? Do you think the 9th inning is less important than other innings? Do you think the 60 some odd innings Papelbon will pitch are going to not help the Phillies.

    Again was it a great or even good signing? Absolutely not, but it was hardly stupid or ridiculous.

    By the way, Heath Bell is coming off a .5 WAR season and received a three year 27 million contract. Joe Nathan is coming off TWO ZERO WAR seasons and signed a two year 14 million dollar contract. What kind of adjective would you use to describe those signings? You’ve already used up ridiculous for mildly overpaying, so maybe “Uber-SUPER-duper-crazy-suicidal!!111! Signings of All-Time!!!,” might be hyperbolic enough for your tastes.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — December 30, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

  67. Also, who is paying Papelbon $14 million a year?

    Comment by DavidCEisen — December 30, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

  68. Phillies will only receive the sandwich pick, when he sings. As a “modified” Type A free agent under the terms of the new CBA, that’s it.

    Red Sox traded for both Melancon, and Bailey, kept themselves under the Luxury Tax limit (for now), and get the Phillies 1st rounder, and a top five pick in the sandwich round after the 1st round.

    Comment by George — December 31, 2011 @ 12:50 am

  69. If a team can get Madson on a 1 year deal, and if Madson puts up 2012 numbers similar to 2011, it may push his 2012 FA status to Type A, netting the team that signs him in that hypothetical to that one year of service PLUS two compensatory picks…worst case a sandwich pick.

    I can see that, from a team perspective, and it may work for Madson in a less cluttered market, relatively speaking.

    Comment by George — December 31, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  70. By what metric will someone “make out like a bandit” by signing Madson?

    Comment by Garrett — December 31, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  71. @ DavidCEisen,

    IMO, the only aspect of the Papelbon deal that can be considered ridiculous is that Amaro signed it before he knew how the new CBA would change free agent compensation. The Phils could have agreed to terms with Papelbon and told him that he must wait for the new CBA until the deal would be announced. Otherwise, I agree with you that overpaying him by ~20% and one year more than necessary is unfortunate, but not ridiculous.

    Comment by hk — January 1, 2012 @ 7:34 am

  72. As a Phillies fan, I am torn on this deal. On the one hand, the Phillies got the best closer on the market, which I obviously favor. I also believe that there’s a decent chance that Papelbon will earn his money on $ per WAR basis. However, the downside for me is, even if he ends up being a value on $ per WAR basis, Amaro definitely should not have squandered a 1st round pick in the process and he quite possibly could have gotten Papelbon for fewer years and/or dollars if he had a better read on the closer market and let it play out a bit (like he did with the SS market and Rollins). To me, Amaro’s biggest failing is that he rushes in and sets the market for free agents of a certain position (i.e. giving Ibanez 3 years and $11.5M per year in 2008 when the rest of the bad fielding, corner OF’s got ~$20M for 2 years) as opposed to letting others set the market and signing players for the right number of years and dollars (i.e. Rollins).

    I would also argue with you that many people do check the facts on Fangraphs before commenting and they might point out that WAR is a descriptive value, not a predictive one. Just because Papelbon has been worth ~2.4 WAR per season throughout his career (excluding his partial 2005 season) doesn’t mean people have to believe that he will be worth that much in his age 31 to 34 seasons (or age 35 season if his contract vests for 2016).

    Comment by hk — January 1, 2012 @ 8:15 am

  73. True, again I’m not arguing it was a good signing, but the Internet has a case of Amaro derangement syndrome. Every average or bad move is ‘the worst contract ever.’

    Comment by DavidCEisen — January 3, 2012 @ 8:53 am

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