Ryan Madson to Have Tommy John Surgery

The hits just keep on coming. Per Ken Rosenthal, Ryan Madson is the latest pitcher to need Tommy John surgery, and will be lost for the 2012 season. The falling dominos will push Sean Marshall into the closer’s role with the Reds, and Aroldis Chapman will move back to the bullpen to replace Marshall in the vacated lefty setup role.

Obviously, this is lousy news for both Madson and the Reds, and you can’t help but wonder how this might have changed the face of the National League race had things turned out differently this winter. Depending on who you believe, the Phillies were either considering or had already agreed to a four year, $44 million deal with Madson, but ended up going after Jonathan Papelbon instead. Had the Phillies finalized that deal with Madson instead of Papelbon, we might be talking about the Marlins or Braves as frontrunners for the NL East today.

Instead, this deals a significant blow to the Reds chances of taking the NL Central, and perhaps evens out yesterday’s news that the Cardinals have lost Chris Carpenter “indefinitely”. The Reds have enough talent to contend this year, but without Madson, their bullpen takes a significant hit. Cincinnati desperately needs Chapman to get back to his dominating 2010 form, rather than the inconsistent hurler he was last year.

I also wonder how this news will affect players willingness to bet on themselves by taking Scott Boras’ advice and going for a one year “pillow contract”. Madson took a one year deal to attempt to cash in big next winter, but this news is going to crush his potential for future earnings, and in reality, he may have missed his only chance to land a long term contract. It will be interesting to see whether players begin to decide that they’re better off taking the security of a multi-year deal when they have the chance, rather than deciding that they can do better in 12 months and betting on a one year deal.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Danny
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Danny
4 years 6 months ago

I feel really bad for Madson. That contract + this injury will probably end up costing him $20 million +.

colin
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colin
4 years 6 months ago

I feel as bad as you can for a pro athlete already scheduled to make 8 million this season. Millions of others are still topping him on my list of sob stories but yes I hear you on that.

MC
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MC
4 years 6 months ago

Yes the irony is that you should feel much sorrier for yourself than Ryan Madson (financially at least)

MC
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MC
4 years 6 months ago

I just forgot to add that from the Reds’ perspective-they look pretty foolish. A small market team that traded away most of their future and put all their eggs in 1 basket, at least closer-wise. Gosh when will teams get it? You don’t need a “closer”-just a bunch of pitchers with really, really good stuff.

Dekker
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Dekker
4 years 6 months ago

@MC

Signing one the best relievers in baseball for a 6.5 million salary and a buyout was a smart move. (He passed his physical too.) This is just a case of good move, bad outcome.

MC
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MC
4 years 6 months ago

@Dekker – I understand your point and I agree to a certain extent. However according to espn.com the Reds 2012 team salary will be $76M. 8M is more than 10% of their salary-for a closer. My point was only that if you’re a small market club, you have to think long-term always (in terms of not giving up prospects) and you have to stock up on players (depth) w/ low salaries because you simply do not have the resources to pay any 1 player as much as the big market clubs pay.

Now that is 10% of their payroll up in flames AND they don’t have a closer, it’s a double whammy. If you’re the Yankees, you don’t care because you can go buy another one. The Reds can’t, and they’ve sacrificed depth with the recent trades so they don’t have an obvious replacement.

I agree with you, it was a good deal, I’m just not sure it’s what the Reds should’ve done given their financial constraints, etc.

slamcactus
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slamcactus
4 years 6 months ago

Sean Marshall seems like a pretty obvious replacement to me. It hurts the Reds, but Madsen absolutely wasn’t a case of short term thinking at the expense of long-term planning. He didn’t block anyone. He didn’t cost them a draft pick. He fit their 2012 budget, and would not cost them a dollar for 2013 and beyond. It’s a big chunk of change to spend on a reliever, sure, but this is a team with a pretty complete roster that thought a good closer would make them that much more likely to make a deep playoff run. They’re the exact type of team who should be making 1-year deals like this for luxury, fill out the roster type players. If there was really a “put all your eggs in one basket” moment for the Reds this offseason, it was the Latos trade, not the Madsen signing.

I agree with the other poster above. Solid move, bad luck. Nothing more going on here, and the team should still be right there in the race for the NL Central division title.

Monroe
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4 years 6 months ago

And let’s not forget poor Scott Boras. He’ll be missing out on his 5% cut of the action. My heart bleeds for him.

Bill
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4 years 6 months ago

I think the $8.5 million down the drain will hurt more than losing the 1.7 WAR closer. Marshall is a solid pitcher and should excel in the role. Chapman is the real wild card as the setup guy. I still like their chances this season, though.

jpg
Member
jpg
4 years 6 months ago

I’m guessing that insurance is likely to pick up most, if not all of, the tab. That would likely give the Reds to wiggle room to make a move at some point. Can anyone confirm this? I know the Mets stupidly declined to insure Billy Wagner’s deal when they signed him a few years back.

night manimal
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night manimal
4 years 6 months ago

There’s reports there is no insurance on the one year contract. If true that really hurts a smaller market team like the Reds like Bill said above.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
4 years 6 months ago

jpg, it’s easy to say they ‘stupidly’ declined it when you’re looking at it in retrospect. But it’s impossible to accurately make such a claim without knowing how much it would have cost, what it would have covered, and how long it would have been in effect. It’s not like teams can insure the entire duration of a pitcher’s contract for a hundred grand.

Shane
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Shane
4 years 6 months ago

This is no backbreaker for the Reds. They have a couple quality arms down their and their is such a discrepancy in year to year reliever performance. The mistake was a small market club paying like that for a closer. Look at what the Rays have done with their bullpen over the years. You can find 1.5 WAR.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
4 years 6 months ago

Shane, it’s naive to think that WAR is the best way to value a closer. Look at Rivera’s WAR each year – do you truly believe he didn’t contribute more to the Yankees?

Jon
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Jon
4 years 6 months ago

Yes, I truly and wholeheartedly agree that Rivera’s value to the Yankees is about 1.5 WAR.

Jon
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Jon
4 years 6 months ago

Sorry, 2 WAR…

bstar
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bstar
4 years 6 months ago

Ever heard of bWAR, Jon?

Sandy Kazmir
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Sandy Kazmir
4 years 6 months ago

@Shane, do you mean like when they traded nothing for Rafael Soriano then paid him $7M to be their closer in 2010. Granted, the CBA was different then so they also turned him into Mikie Mahtook in last year’s draft. I know many people think that giving a bunch of money to a guy to be your “closer” is pretty silly, but I think the deal being for one year is much more important than some static dollar figures. Adding a very good reliever to a team that is in the sweet spot of the win curve and basically has a two year window before their best players leaves town is a very smart move. One more marginal WAR has a ton of value to the team. The fact that the player was on a one year deal makes the risk all the more easy to swallow. It didn’t work out, but team’s shouldn’t be thought dumb for chasing some of that all important playoff money.

I’m with Dekker, here.

Baltar
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Baltar
4 years 6 months ago

Shane is correct. However, the Reds certainly deserve credit for not giving any “closer” a multi-year contract for tens of millions as so many other teams did this off-season.

Phils_Goodman
Member
Phils_Goodman
4 years 6 months ago

fWAR is a leverage-blind statistic. Everything about closer value is tied to high leverage. fWAR doesn’t do a good job of estimating closers.

Oscar
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Oscar
4 years 6 months ago

Except that fWAR includes leverage.

Ed
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Ed
4 years 6 months ago

WAR doesn’t accurately capture the value of relievers to their teams due to leverage. Despite Dave Cameron’s impassioned argument on the podcast a few weeks back as for why a leverage-agnostic metric is appropriate for valuing relievers, WAR fairly obviously doesn’t get relievers right, which is also a major part of why the $/WAR for relievers is so “off” (according to the writers on this website.. these guys in front offices aren’t as crazy as some might think).

In 2011, Mariano Rivera produced 2.4 WAR by pitching 61.1 innings with a 2.19 FIP. Francisco Cordero produced 0.1 WAR by pitching 69.2 innings to a 4.02 FIP. Brandon League produced 1.4 WAR by pitching 61.1 innings to a 2.78 FIP.

Let’s say you could pick from one of two bullpens. In bullpen one, you have four clones of Mariano Rivera three of Francisco Cordero. In 2011, this bullpen would have produced 2.4*4+0.1*3 = 9.9 WAR

In bullpen two, you have seven clones of Brandon League. This bullpen would have produced 9.8 WAR. For all practical purposes, the WAR is identical.

Which bullpen wins more games? If you think it’s a wash, you’re nuts. Four Mariano Riveras wipes the floor with seven Brandon Leagues, and the reason is LEVERAGE. All your high leverage relief innings go to Riveras, and all your low leverage innings go to Corderos.

Now say you replace one Rivera with a Cordero in the first bullpen, and you replace two Leagues with two Corderos in the second bullpen. WAR says that bullpen two got more worse, but again that’s wrong. Bullpen one just got a lot more worse because the #6 and #7 guys just don’t matter as much as the #4 guy does.

Bottom line. Mariano Rivera is worth well more than two Brandon Leagues, he should be paid this way, and relying on a statistic that ignores this fact will bring you to poor conclusions.

Mike
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Mike
4 years 6 months ago

Rivera has 39.0 Career fWAR and 56.3 bWAR

bWAR is much closer to his actual value in this case.

Ed
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Ed
4 years 6 months ago

fWAR vs. bWAR is primarily an ERA vs. FIP thing, and therefore bWAR will still not value relievers appropriately (unless there’s something else about bWAR I don’t know). You can sub Rivera out in my argument for Kimbrel or another elite reliver if you please.

Vin
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Vin
4 years 6 months ago

“Had the Phillies finalized that deal with Madson instead of Papelbon, we might be talking about the Marlins or Braves as frontrunners for the NL East today.”

I don’t think a relief pitcher is the difference between the Phillies being the favourites or not.

LTG
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LTG
4 years 6 months ago

Yeah, it’s Utley. If he misses the whole season, they are in trouble.

TK
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TK
4 years 6 months ago

I agree, minus the “u”

I’d still rather have signed Madson for 1/8.5 than Paps for 4/50.

Shane
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Shane
4 years 6 months ago

And I would say it’s likely to damage The Reds less than we think. That being said, I would leave Marshall be for high leverage situations and find someone else for the closer role.

Blue
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Blue
4 years 6 months ago

Don’t see Marshall as a step down from Madson.

Rey22
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Rey22
4 years 6 months ago

It’s the trickle down effect that really hurts. Sure, Marshall can replace Madson in the 9th pretty well, but now the 7th inning guy is the 8th inning guy, the 6th inning guy is the 7th, and so on. More innings to lesser pitchers.

Fatalotti
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Fatalotti
4 years 6 months ago

Whether or not he’s a step down is irrelevant. Certainly Madson + Marshall is better than Marshall alone, no?

The Reds were going to have one of the best 1-2 punches in their bullpen this year (probably as good as Venters/Kimbrel, Robertson/Rivera or Romo/Wilson). A huge blow for the Reds, who would have really been able to shorten games, which would have been a great thing for a team that’s not especially strong on the starting pitching front.

Jason461
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4 years 6 months ago

Chapman may end up in the bullpen as a result of this, but it’s not a given. I don’t see any quotes from Jocketty stating this as a certainty the way you do, Dave.

Baker has been the one pushing for Chapman moving to the bullpen. Jocketty, who is the one to make the decision, has stayed steady with Chapman getting ready as a starter. Only the injury to Madson has caused to him to consider the notion publicly.

Colin P
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Colin P
4 years 6 months ago

Recent quotes from Jocketty (on John Fay’s blog) show that he’s not out of the 5th starter race yet. His control has been excellent this spring, and Homer Bailey has been terrible. Bailey could be the guy in the pen (out of options) or Chapman goes to start in AAA and Jeff Francis (who can opt out if not quickly in MLB) could be the long man.

Name
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Name
4 years 6 months ago

Yeah, Dave Cameron is really just making stuff up, and not checking his facts. Something you would expect from a guy who runs an amateur fan blog, but Mr. Cameron really should know better.

Then again, this website also claimed in an article that Mike Leake had shoulder surgery.

Kinda calls all the facts written in articles on this website into question.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
4 years 6 months ago

Yeah, 2 minor factual errors relating to your favorite team destroys the credibility of every post on this site.

Jason B
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Jason B
4 years 6 months ago

“Kinda calls all the facts written in articles on this website into question.”

Overreact much?

jim
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jim
4 years 6 months ago

when did they announce chapman would be setting up? wouldn’t bailey, he of the turrible spring training and much less exciting stuff as a starter be more likely to end up in the pen, as likely was going to happen anyway?

Jason461
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

They haven’t said that. Dave is making a guess. Bailey is not a good candidate to go to the pen, though. He takes a long time to warm up.

Mike P
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Mike P
4 years 6 months ago

“You can’t help but wonder how this might have changed the face of the National League race”

It’s 60-some innings. I can’t imagine that any GM worth their position couldn’t conjure up another reliever to make up most of the lost value. I guess the current marketplace still makes that difficult, though.

Dennis
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Dennis
4 years 6 months ago

Time for the Reds do call the M’s about League?

joser
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joser
4 years 6 months ago

They can have him free if they agree to take Figgins too.

tsinor
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tsinor
4 years 6 months ago

What? And lose our lead off man? (snicker)

ALEastbound
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4 years 6 months ago

Sorry to jack this thread but what are the Cards plans to replace Carpenter? Lynn, Shelby?

cpebbles
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cpebbles
4 years 6 months ago

Lynn. Hopefully they’ll cave and sign Oswalt as soon as someone takes McClellan’s stupid contract off their hands.

chuckb
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chuckb
4 years 6 months ago

Why would someone do that and give up a prospect?

shel
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shel
4 years 6 months ago

what if marmol were available from the Cubs?

jerbear1985
Member
jerbear1985
4 years 6 months ago

Marmol is not a solution for a contending team.

Nik
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Nik
4 years 6 months ago

As others mentioned, if he signed with the Phils, Madson going down would not swing the balance of power in the NL East.

Will
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Will
4 years 6 months ago

Perhaps not, but certainly it would have made things a lot closer. And if Utley and Howard are slow to recover, the absence of Madson could have been the difference between the Phils and the rest of the division.

hk
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hk
4 years 6 months ago

Nik,

If you are the same Nik who is an ardent supporter of the Papelbon signing on other, Phillies-centric, websites, doesn’t your comment above show why the $12.5M of AAV bestowed upon Papelbon could have been better spent elsewhere? If you are a different Nik, please disregard this comment.

winfield wants noise
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Aroldis Chapman losing value moving to the pen.

bach
Member
bach
4 years 6 months ago

“I also wonder how this news will affect players willingness to bet on themselves by taking Scott Boras’ advice and going for a one year “pillow contract”.”

Madson wasn’t getting a lot of multiple year offers anyway, was he? He didn’t really have much choice, like most players in this situation.

Jon
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Jon
4 years 6 months ago

He probably didn’t get many, but he definitely got a few. It only takes one multi-year offer to sign a multi-year deal if that’s what you want.

hk
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hk
4 years 6 months ago

How sure are you that he got any serious multi-year offers after the Phillies signed Papelbon and the Marlins signed Bell? To me, the idea that Boras decided to have him take a “pillow contract” is an attempt at a positive spin coming from Boras’s office.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
4 years 6 months ago

If he didn’t, it’s because he was asking for 4-5 years and $10 M per year. Had he been more reasonable, he’d have gotten his share before the well dried up.

TheUncool
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TheUncool
4 years 6 months ago

Makes me wonder if the Phils noticed signs of significant risk w/ Madson when they decided to go for Paps instead.

As for Madson’s decision to go 1-year, I would think pitchers would be far more reluctant to do that than everyday position players, especially if it was his 1st shot at making FA-level $$$. Still, I guess he should do just fine if this $8.5M is the last significant baseball $$$ he’ll make going forward, if he handles it wisely…

NEPP
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NEPP
4 years 6 months ago

I think that would be overestimating Ruben Amaro. Odds are he just got lucky. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

cable fixer
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cable fixer
4 years 6 months ago

i wouldn’t wager that the phillies thought madson was headed for TJ. i would wager, however, that they correctly identified the superior, younger, and historically ealthier (as measured by DL stints) player to pay big money to.

hk
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hk
4 years 6 months ago

I doubt that the Phils noticed this as they (allegedly) got pretty deep into discussions with Madson on a long-term deal. If Papelbon had signed elsewhere early in the off-season, I’d be willing to bet that the Phils would have re-upped Madson. The Phillies also offered Madson arbitration, which they most likely would not have done if they noticed signs of significant risk.

tsinor
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tsinor
4 years 6 months ago

This is a strange article coming from someone who thinks closers are over rated.

That said, I think the Reds will be fine.

jerbear1985
Member
jerbear1985
4 years 6 months ago

The “proven closer” mantra is overrated. Frank Francisco, Kevin Gregg, Matt Capps, and others like them are just closers because they’ve done it. Madson is a really talented pitcher, closer or not. In that sense he’s a big loss.

Baltar
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Baltar
4 years 6 months ago

Yes, Dave Cameron overstated the case. However, losing perhaps 2 wins in a very tight divisional race is pretty bad.

BigR
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BigR
4 years 6 months ago

Wasn’t Chapman better last year than 2010?

BigR
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BigR
4 years 6 months ago

Never mind I see you must’ve been referring to his MLB callup.

Cliff B
Member
Member
Cliff B
4 years 6 months ago

Closers are that important all of a sudden? This site preaches the relative unimportance of the closer. Now losing Madson is equal to losing Crapenter? Bah.

It sucks losing Madson, but it is not on the same level as losing 200 innings.

Unless you’re talking about intangibles, like late inning prowess, or closerness.

Reds will be fine with Marshall. The 60 innings lost will be made up one way or another. Perhaps not as well as they would have with Madson, but it will be done.

Chapman can stay his course of becoming the next Randy Johnson, in a rotation. Be it Louisville or Cincy. The bullpen will survive without him.

Shaun Catron
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Shaun Catron
4 years 6 months ago

I think Marshall is equal to Madson, maybe even better.

hk
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hk
4 years 6 months ago

Even if true, that does not discount the impact of losing Madson. Marshall + Madson > Marshall + Madson’s replacement.

Jordan
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Jordan
4 years 6 months ago

Losing Carpenter indefinitely is not the same as losing Carpenter for the season. Dave’s point was that if CC misses a chunk of the season, but not the whole thing, it’ll be a similar loss for the Cards as the Reds losing Madson for the year.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
4 years 6 months ago

Losing a 2 win Madson will be about equal to losing a 4 win Carpenter for half the season, if that’s how long Carpenter is out.

Doug
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Doug
4 years 6 months ago

As I’ve been so blatantly corrected on other sites, the injury to Madson’s elbow and subsequent internal bleeding apparently resembles that of a one-pitch, instantaneous blow-out.

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
4 years 6 months ago

Instead, this deals a significant blow to the Reds chances of taking the NL Central, and perhaps evens out yesterday’s news that the Cardinals have lost Chris Carpenter “indefinitely”.

The inconsistent views on closers is frustrating/confusing/etc.

Madsen was likely projected for 1.5 WAR.

Marshall appears to be able to replace Madsen (and then some, going by projections). But, guys as relievers and setup men don;t always convert to closer as expected.

We also need to decide on what metric we’re using to measure closers. If it’s saves, then basically anyone on a winning team can convert 30 saves. If it’s meltdowns/shutdowns, then there are some BIG differences between relievers. If it’s WAR, then it comes down to essentially 1 win or so (depending on chaining).

But, Chris Carpenter projects as a 4 WAR SP … and he may not be out for the year. So, it likely dfoes not come close to “evening out”.

As for Marashall as effective closer … I’m of the “I’ll believe it when I see it” camp. He has increased his effectiveness by throwing curveballs instead of fastballs twice as often as he used to.

Jordan
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Jordan
4 years 6 months ago

The lack of reading comprehension exhibited by authors of comments on this site is frustrating.

See my reply to Cliff above. And if that doesn’t make sense, try looking up ‘indefinitely’ and ‘perhaps’ in your friendly neighborhood dictionary.

Wait, what?
Guest
Wait, what?
4 years 6 months ago

Try applying that reading comprehension to the larger points that CircleChange and Cliff are making.

If there’s consistency on this site at all, then the Reds losing a closer shouldn’t be a huge deal… should barely be worth a post from one of the FG authors in the first place.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
4 years 6 months ago

If Carp’s out half a year, that’s roughly equivalent to Madson missing half a year.

So, in the sense that each team loses roughly 2 WAR, it does come close to “evening out.”

Wait, what?
Guest
Wait, what?
4 years 6 months ago

Chapman’s “dominating 2010 form” was worth a grand total of .7 WAR. So, the difference between the Reds seriously contending and them needing a lot of things to break right to take the Central is about 1 win?

los
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los
4 years 6 months ago

I don’t know about you but .7 War in 13.1 IP seems pretty dominating to me.

Wait, what?
Guest
Wait, what?
4 years 6 months ago

So, the difference between the Reds “seriously contending” and them needing a lot of things to break right to take the Central is about 1 win?

Mike
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Mike
4 years 6 months ago

Because, inevitably, Chapman will only pitch 13.1 IP again?

CircleChange11
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

@Jordan

Obviously I did not read your comment before replying nor did I look at it from that perspective. If CC29 produces 2 WAR this year then it may come close to evening out. I don’t know what to expect from him this year.

But, most often, closers on FG are viewed to be easily replaceable and it’s brought up every time a team signs one for over 5M/y.

Replacing a good SP for a chunk of the year is not viewed in the same way.

Fungible, volatile, and replaceable are the terms used to describe closets here. You’d think all CIN would need to do is just pick one of the highly available Jon Axfords and keep right on competing. The Cards on the other hand, have to replace Carp with a Lance Lynn.

“indefinitely” in regards to Chris Carpenter has traditionally not meant a “short stint”.

We’re also assuming RM is as good in 12 as he was in 11 and ignoring the whole volatile reliever thing.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
4 years 6 months ago

“indefinitely” in regards to Chris Carpenter has traditionally not meant a “short stint”.

This is true and should be a concern to all Cards’ fans.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
4 years 6 months ago

And my fantasy team weeps (Madson and Soria were both on my relief corps).

pft
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pft
4 years 6 months ago

Did Madson have any multi-year offers worth more than a 7 million AAV? He gets 8 million plus a 3 million buy out for this year, that should hold him until 2014 when he should be fully recovered from TJ surgery and can sign another 1 year deal and hope to pitch himself.

Obviously, he is worse off for the Phillies withdrawing their offer, but he won’t starve.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
4 years 6 months ago

The problem with this is that he’s already on the wrong side of thirty.

Considering how late he elected the surgery, being rehabbed in time to start next season is at best extremely hopeful and at worst a complete pipe dream. With TJ rehab being anywhere from 10-18 months, he might miss most of 2013 and the odds of him coming back and being immediately effective are slim. At his age, that’s potentially a death sentence considering his short track record as a closer.

At best, he’ll be 32, going on 33 by the time he’s fully rehabbed and will be looking at trying to get a one year contract taking him through to age 34 to reestablish value and I don’t care how good he is in that first full year after rehab, no one’s going to give a reliever with only one full year of closing a big money, multiyear deal.

The timing of this turn of events seriously could not have been worse for Madson, who looked just a few short months ago poised to finally get his big payday. Honestly, I feel kind of bad for the guy (As bad as one can feel for a guy making $11MM to spend the year rehabbing).

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