Multiple teams, including the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox, have started to express interest in free agent reliever Ryan Madson. The right-hander hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since the 2011 season, but held a showcase for interested teams last Friday in Phoenix that reportedly left some scouts impressed.
It is still unclear, however, when Madson would be game-ready.
James Wagner at the Washington Post suggests that the Washington Nationals’ scouts were pleased with what they saw from Madson. There could be some interest from the organization, as they’ve shown a willingness in the past to overlook a player’s injury history. Wagner also notes the team’s success rehabbing pitchers from elbow injuries – citing Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Lucas Giolito, and Christian Garcia.
Washington is already facing some decisions when it comes to their bullpen this Spring, but it’s expected that any team that signs Madson will do so on a minor league deal – wanting to see him prove his health in the minor leagues first, before considering him for a spot on the active roster.
Now 33, Madson had been among the more effective relievers in the National League during his tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies. Mostly serving in a setup role, Madson pitched to a 3.59 ERA, 1.294 WHIP, and 7.8 K/9 over 630.0 IP. His last five seasons were his most effective, combining for a 2.89 ERA and 1.192 WHIP while helping the club win a World Series.
After signing a one year deal with the Cincinnati Reds for 2012, he’d tear a ligament in his elbow during Spring Training and would need Tommy John surgery, putting him out for the entire season. He’d sign with the Los Angeles Angels the next winter, but would never throw a pitch for them either.
Scouts from the Boston Red Sox were also reportedly at Madson’s showcase. Boston is another case where there presumably are already a number of bullpen options in place, but this isn’t the first time that they’ve been linked as a potential suitor. It is also believed that the Phillies could have interest in a reunion.