Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Who botched things for Ryan Madson?

Madson stuck with a 1-year deal

Who botched things for Ryan Madson?


Nobody will need to hold a benefit for Ryan Madson. If reports are accurate, he is in the process of doing a 1-year, $8.5 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds. He is safely in the 1 percent. Again, no tears.

 But how did this happen?

 How did he and agent Scott Boras miscalculate the market so badly?

 I still would love to know how the whole Phillies thing went down. Reports stated that a 4-year, $44 million deal with Madson was imminent, and then it suddenly wasn’t. The Phillies went instead for Jonathan Papelbon and for $50 million, and Boras was left to talk about what a strong market still existed for Madson and et cetera.

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 But was there a real offer on the table to Madson from the Phillies, and if there was, why was it pulled back? If Madson and Boras had said yes at some point in the process, would Madson still have been here?

 And who miscalculated the dynamics of the marketplace so badly? Was it Boras, squeezing so hard that the Phillies said ouch? Was it Madson, insisting that he was worth more? Or was there never a real offer on the table, and just discussions that ended when it became clear to the Phillies that they could get Papelbon instead?

 If the Phillies thing was real, it was a lot of money, and it came from Madson’s current team. It also was from a team that has, in recent seasons, proven itself to be a market trendsetter. The Phillies -- with Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard, to name just two -- arrived early and with the keys to an armored car full of cash. They guesstimated the market and they acted first and they were willing to deal with the second-guessers who said they overpaid. In both of those cases, Ibanez and Howard, they likely did overpay and still did not care and still will not care as long as you keep buying tickets at the going rate.

 So if there was an offer, or something pretty close to an offer, you wonder what it was like when Madson and Boras discussed it, either face-to-face or on the phone.

 Did Boras tell him to sign it? Did Madson want to sign it? Did Boras tell him he could get more from somebody else? Did Madson insist that Boras promised all along to get him more?

 In other words, who drove this bus over the cliff?

 The spin undoubtedly will be that they decided to take the 1-year deal because the market was lousy, and that if Madson pitches well this season, he will be able to cash in next year -- and it might just turn out that way. But when you do the risk-reward calculation, the risk being carried by Madson is enormous. Pitchers have health issues because that is what they do for a living. Closers have consistency issues because that is the nature of the position, it seems. You pitch in a bullpen, and you do that as your life’s work, and you never know.

 Now Madson bears all of that risk and Boras goes about his lucrative business and the Phillies go on with Papelbon. And the rest of us wonder if it was the agent or the client who botched this thing so badly.

Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at Reach Rich at

Rich Hofmann Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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