The free agent market never developed the way Ryan Madson had hoped, but it appears that the former Phils reliever has found a new home.
Madson, 31, went 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 62 relief appearances for the Phillies last season. He saved 32 games in 34 appearances. In nine years with the team, he did a little bit of everything - starting, pitching in middle relief, pitching in a set-up role, closing. You name it, Madson did it. Except, ya know, cash in as a free agent.
Beerleaguer: Financially, this is obviously a huge disappointment for Madson, who was likely hoping to receive a contract in the general neighborhood of the 4-year, $50 million deal Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies a couple of months ago.
That said, it's not an awful situation for Madson. He could put up a nice save total with a team that will be among the favorites in the NL Central, and then hit free agency again next winter (or perhaps ink a long-term deal with Cincinnati during the season). It's far from ideal, but it's not the end of the world. If he struggles or gets hurt in 2012, then yeah, it's basically the end of the world.
This is also an opportunity to reflect on what Madson meant to this organization. From a borderline starter to a solid reliever to a star setup man to a darn good closer, Madson will go down as one of the underrated heroes of the Howard-Utley-Rollins-Hamels era, a man who deserved a better contract than he received, a man without whom the Phillies definitely do not win the World Series in 2008.
A really good guy and a really good pitcher. Hopefully things work out for Madson in Cincinnati.
Update: Bob Nightengale tweets that the deal is worth in excess of $10 mil.