It’s Now or Never for the Red Sox to Sign Ryan Madson
The market for free agent closers is growing smaller and smaller by the day. The New York Mets were the latest team to get in on the ninth inning specialists, signing Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. So as the list of qualified closers continues to dwindle, it is now or never if the Red Sox want to get in on the action.
Jon Heyman of SI tweeted that the Red Sox are looking at Ryan Madson. We’ve heard this for weeks now and nothing serious has come of it. We’ve also heard that the Red Sox are looking at trading for Oakland’s closer Andrew Bailey. Two great options, yet two different scenarios. While Bailey will cost prospects, and it sounds like a lot of them, Madson will cost money and a lot of it. Likely around that $10 million per season for multiple years. Madson wants four years, while Cherington has been hesitant to be willing to offer anything more than three.
I’ve been an advocate of Madson since Papelbon walked out of Boston. The only drawback is his lack of experience in the closing role. Bailey does have three years experience at coming in to close the door in the ninth, yet it’s Madson who is the high profile free agent.
Heyman also reports that the Orioles and Angels are also looking for a closer, so the pressure to either pull the trigger on the Bailey deal or sign Madson is going to mount over the next day or two.
The Madson scenario complicates an already difficult situation; the luxury tax ceiling. The Red Sox only have $8 million to spend and management appears to be intent on staying under the $178 million dollar limit. Giving Madson anything over $8 million this year will put the team in jeopardy of having to pay luxury tax. Unless of course they can unload some salary elsewhere, for example Kevin Youkilis.
It’s looking like Daniel Bard is going to get his shot at starting, making the bullpen a little thin when it comes to options on the back end. Again, making Madson and Bailey that much more attractive.
The clock appears to be ticking as Madson is only one of couple good options left to sign to replace Papelbon. It’s now up to Cherington if he wants to pull the trigger and he may not have a lot of time to think about it.
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