One day after describing reports of a contract agreement between the Phillies and closer Ryan Madson as "unequivocally false," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said it still remains possible that Madson ends up being the team's closer next season.
"He is," in the mix of pitchers the Phillies are considering, Amaro said.
Amaro said the Phillies take into consideration that Madson is a homegrown player who has been with the organization his entire career.
"It's certainly a factor because there is comfort and familiarity," Amaro said. "Our job is to put the best pieces of the puzzle together."
While most of the focus in the Phillies' pursuit of a closer has been on Madson and Boston free agent Jonathan Papelbon, Amaro said he believes the market of quality closer arms is more expansive than those two pitchers.
"I'd say there are about five or six right now that we'd be satisfied with them," he said. "We feel confident that we'll come up with something that is satisfactory."
While Papelbon and Madson have to be considered the top of the free-agent class, San Diego's Heath Bell, Cincinnati's Francisco Cordero and Milwaukee's Francisco Rodriguez all are viable options with outstanding track records in the role.
Papelbon, Bell, Cordero and Rodriguez are all type A free agents so unless something changes in the new collective bargaining agreement, the Phillies will lose a first-round draft pick if they sign one of those pitchers. Conversely, they would also receive draft compensation if Madson signed elsewhere because he is a Type A free agent.