The Angels blew a league-high 22 saves in 2012, a total that left then sitting in third place in the AL West at season’s end. Madson, who missed all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, converted 32 or 34 chances when closing games for the Phillies in 2011. He is expected to be ready by Opening Day.
Of course, being able to pitch and being able to pitch effectively are often not the same thing. While pitchers are coming back faster than ever from Tommy John, frequently we have seen that it isn’t until close to two full years have past before those pitchers get back to being what they were before the surgery. Of course, each individual is different. Billy Wagner was back to old form less than a year after going under the knife. Joe Nathan, however, was back on the mound in a year, but didn’t become Joe Nathan again until the second year after the surgery.
The point isn’t that the Madson deal is bad because a one-year commitment is almost never bad but the odds are that Madson looks more like Nathan of 2011 than Nathan of 2012.
Still, the Angels potentially filled a huge need for them and they did so without breaking the bank, presumably. Madson made $8 million for the Reds last year and didn’t throw a pitch. I’d have to think this deal is for somewhere less than that.
Los Angeles used Ernesto Frieri as their closer for most of last season.
Getting Madson signed also allows the Angels to continue their pursuit of starter Zack Greinke, which is where the bulk of their remaining resources are expected to be used this Winter.