The Los Angeles Angels, who led the American League in blown saves over the past two seasons and still contended they did not require a credentialed closer for 2013, have rethought that stance.
On Tuesday they reached an agreement on a one-year contract with Ryan Madson, who had 32 saves for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011 before missing last season because of Tommy John surgery. Pending a physical examination, which was to take place Tuesday afternoon, the deal will contain a lower base salary with bonuses for roster time and games finished.
Madson will be ready to pitch come spring training, according to sources. He underwent elbow reconstruction surgery in April and has maintained a steady course of recovery and rehabilitation. Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed the surgery, is the Angels' team physician.
Madson, 32, was born and raised in Southern California. After seven seasons in which he served primarily as a setup man for the Phillies, he won the closing job in 2011. He then signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Reds, but did not throw a regular-season pitch after injuring his elbow in spring training. The Reds declined an $11 million option for 2013.
Using a variety of ninth-inning options, the Angels blew 47 saves over 2011 and 2012, part of the reason they failed to make the playoffs in either season. Seven different pitchers saved at least one game in 2012, when the club settled eventually on Ernesto Frieri, acquired in an early May trade with the San Diego Padres. He did not allow a hit in his first 13 appearances for the Angels, but issued 26 walks in 54 1/3 innings by the end of the season.
A healthy and productive Madson, whose changeup is among the best in the game, would firm up the late innings. The Angels still seek starting pitching after trading Ervin Santana and declining the option year on Dan Haren's contract. The club has said it will bid for free agent Zack Greinke, though heavy competition from the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers could drive him out of their price range.
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