Madson snafu might be linked to upcoming CBA

Sort of a funky start to the offseason for agent Scott Boras, who scrapped with the Arizona Diamondbacks over infielder Willie Bloomquist(notes) and is in obvious conflict with the Philadelphia Phillies over closer Ryan Madson’s(notes) agreement/non-agreement.

Bloomquist ultimately re-signed with the Diamondbacks (for less than what the San Francisco Giants offered), but the Madson snag lingers.

Philadelphia's Ryan Madson and agent Scott Boras were thrown when the Phillies' GM said publicly they had no contract.
(Getty Images)

Multiple reports (including Yahoo! Sports) this week suggested Madson and the Phillies were close on a four-year, $44 million contact and that there remained only some conversation about a vesting fifth-year option.

It made sense. The Phillies were getting their closer back, and Madson was getting something close to the going rate.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. apparently took the framework of the deal to president Dave Montgomery, who refused to sign off. On Thursday, Amaro told ESPN there had never been an agreement, and in fact called reports of the agreement “unequivocally false,” which presumably would be a huge surprise to Boras and his client.

Now, Amaro has done plenty of deals, so he likely knows what an agreement looks like. And Boras has done thousands, so he probably has a feel for what constitutes an agreement and what is just talk. He did tell Madson there was an agreement, so he certainly believed they had one, and Boras doesn’t make those kinds of errors.

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Officials around the game suggest two possible scenarios:

One, the first big contract of the offseason could harm the ongoing CBA negotiations, suggesting owners believe a deal is a formality. That doesn’t help their position – or the players’ mood – a month away from the current deal’s expiration.

Two, MLB believed $11 million a year – and another $13 million as a vesting option – was rather high for pitcher who’s closed for one year, and in a winter in which Jonathan Papelbon(notes) and Heath Bell(notes) also are on the market.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays. If Boras and Madson believe they had what amounted to a handshake agreement, and Amaro returns to the table with fewer years and dollars, that might not play very well in the Boras camp.

Meantime, reports in Philadelphia say the Phillies are now engaged with Papelbon’s agents.

Reached Thursday night, Boras would not comment on Madson but did say Prince Fielder’s(notes) free agency is proving to be healthy, as expected.

“He’s a rock star,” Boras said.

Boras’ higher-end free agents include Fielder, Edwin Jackson(notes), Carlos Pena, Francisco Rodriguez, Johnny Damon(notes) and Madson.

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Also:

Here come the Florida/Miami Marlins. MLB.com reported Thursday night the Marlins would meet soon with free agent Albert Pujols(notes). The suddenly flush Fish already have attempted to seduce shortstop Jose Reyes(notes) and starter Mark Buehrle(notes), and are believed to have been in contact with outfielder Carlos Beltran,(notes) starter C.J. Wilson(notes) and presumably will have Fielder in as well. …

Caught in a potentially damaging situation after firing so much staff in October, and being carried for a month by young staffers and other advisers before hiring Jerry Dipoto to be their general manager, the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday told manager of baseball operations Tory Hernandez he no longer had a job.

After the departure of Tony Reagins, Hernandez helped compile the Angels’ working list of GM candidates (and even found himself on it for a period) and keep the baseball ops up and running, all with a presumption of a continued role and a new contract. In fact, he worked the first 10 days of November without a contract or a paycheck, still under the assumption his place within the organization was being defined. A severance deal is being discussed.

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Justin Hollander, previously an assistant to player development and scouting, served the past month in a similar capacity and has been made director of baseball operations.

After seven years with the club, and a very crazy final six weeks, Hernandez is looking for work. …

Rod Barajas(notes) agreed to a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates worth $4 million, with a club option for 2013 worth $3.5 million. Barajas, 36, is expected to be the Pirates’ primary catcher. He batted .230 with 16 home runs in 98 games – 88 at catcher – for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are leaning toward going young with a catching rotation of A.J. Ellis(notes) and Tim Federowicz(notes).

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Tim Brown is a national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports. He co-authored with Jim Abbott the memoir “Imperfect: an Improbable Life”.   Follow him on Twitter.   Send Tim a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Thursday, Nov 10, 2011