Madson made millions by waiting for free agency

Ryan Madson earned himself a huge payday by waiting for free agency. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

The Phillies tried to sign Ryan Madson to a contract extension last year in spring training and if they had done so, it would have been at the discounted rate of a setup man.

Instead, he decided to take a chance on himself and it's a decision that will be worth millions of extra dollars to the 31-year-old righthander when he signs as a free agent this offseason.

Scott Boras, the agent for Madson, said Tuesday afternoon that he continues to exchange proposals with the Phillies to keep the veteran righthander in Philadelphia, but he gave no indication a deal was imminent.

"We're having dialogue," Boras said. "Ryan has been very successful there and Philadelphia is a great place to play. Both parties understand it is a good fit."

After arriving in spring training as the setup man for Brad Lidge and then initially remaining in that role for most of April while Jose Contreras served as the closer in place of an injured Lidge, Madson finally got his first save opportunity of the season April 22 in San Diego. He held the role the remainder of the year and flourished in it.

In his first full season as the Phillies closer, Madson converted 32 of 34 chances and posted a 2.37 ERA, his lowest since the 2004 season.

Madson said before spring training that he was ready to be a closer, which some people questioned based on his previous history in the role. The reliever said at that time that he had a long conversation with Boras about being a closer late in the 2010 season.

"I wanted him to know my viewpoint and my understanding of his ability as somebody who played against stars that were great closers and also represented great closers," Boras said. "I wanted him to understand that when you have a 95 m.p.h. fastball and changeup with command at 80 to 82 that you have a chance for brilliance.

"I've known Ryan since he was in high school and my thought process was always that he was a very modest and conscientious person. I wanted him to understand that he had to illustrate his ability to its highest form while allowing his personality to remain respectful. He needed to allow himself to be his best. it was time for his abilities to lead him rather than his off-the-field personality."