Inside the Phillies: Madson reportedly joining Reds; Phils don't appear interested in Wood

Ryan Madson reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Reds, who said the former Phillie has not signed a contract.
Ryan Madson reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Reds, who said the former Phillie has not signed a contract. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 12, 2012

Forget about the plan to possibly keep Ryan Madson as the Phillies' setup man. Not that there was much of a chance before, and certainly not now, since it appears he will be closing in Cincinnati.

But that doesn't mean Phillies fans should expect to see Kerry Wood wearing red pinstripes on the mound at Citizens Bank Park this year.

Several reports had the 31-year-old Madson agreeing to terms with the Reds on a one-year deal worth $8.5 million to $10 million. Madson's agent, Scott Boras, was unavailable for comment.

The Reds, in an e-mail Wednesday night, said they "haven't signed Ryan Madson at this point."

OK, so this may take some time to finalize, but everybody expects it to be done.

One note of caution: Earlier this offseason, there were reports that Madson was ready to sign a long-term deal with the Phillies. According to The Inquirer's Matt Gelb, the Phillies never had a deal for Madson but did discuss parameters of a four-year, $44 million contract.

The Phillies, of course, signed Jonathan Papelbon to be the closer in a four-year, $50 million deal.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday in a phone interview that even after Madson rejected arbitration, which would have bound him to the Phillies this season, the lines of communications hadn't closed.

"But it was pretty clear Ryan wanted to close, and he didn't have that role with us since we signed Jonathan Papelbon," Amaro said.

So, with Madson getting a good opportunity - if not the long-term contract he was seeking - with a seemingly improved Cincinnati team, the question is: What shape is the Phillies bullpen in?

That's where Wood comes in. Several reports linked the Phillies to the Chicago Cubs free-agent righthander as the possible setup man for Papelbon. However, FOX Sports reported on Wednesday that the Cubs and Wood were closing in on a one-year deal.

Wood, who has made many trips to the disabled list, earned $1.5 million last year, giving the Cubs a so-called hometown discount. The 34-year-old's price range should more than double, and it's likely there will be several suitors, but will the Phillies be one of them?

It doesn't sound that way, even if he and the Cubs don't come to an agreement.

Amaro said he couldn't talk about specifics, but he outlined his strategy in building his bullpen.

"We are probably looking for players who would come in on minor-league deals - low-risk, decent-reward type of guys - rather than go to a high-dollar bullpen piece," the GM said.

It must be noted that Amaro and the Phillies have the right to change their strategy, or at least pull a stunner. Can anybody say "Cliff Lee?"

Still, Amaro said he "absolutely" would be satisfied to start the season with the bullpen he has.

That doesn't mean he won't try to acquire upgrades.

Before getting to the bullpen, Amaro envisions Vance Worley and Joe Blanton's occupying the two starting spots behind the big three of Roy Halladay, Lee, and Cole Hamels. He said that Kyle Kendrick could be a swing-type pitcher who can start if someone is injured. (On that note, Amaro said he is pleased with Blanton's progress from right-elbow problems last season.)

Right now, the veteran bullpen candidates include righthanders David Herndon, Kendrick, Michael Stutes, Jose Contreras, and Papelbon.

Contreras, who didn't make an appearance after June 19 and underwent elbow surgery in September, began his throwing program last week, according to Amaro.

The veteran lefthanded relief candidates are Dontrelle Willis and Antonio Bastardo.

Amaro listed other candidates, including righthanders Brian Sanches, Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, and Michael Schwimer; and lefties Jake Diekman and Joe Savery. In this group, all but Sanches have little to no major-league experience. The 33-year-old Sanches was 4-1 with a 3.94 ERA in 39 appearances for the Florida - now Miami - Marlins last season.

"We expect them all to be vying for spots," Amaro said. "It's all about competition."

And don't be surprised if others are brought into the mix. It's only January, and there is plenty of time for tinkering to be done and minds to be changed.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at, 856-779-3225, or @sjnard on Twitter.


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