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Red Sox sitting pretty in search for new closer

Dec 6, 2011, 2:41 PM EDT

Ryan Madson Getty Images

Here’s a list of the closers still available in free agency:

Ryan Madson
Francisco Rodriguez
Francisco Cordero
Brad Lidge
Frank Francisco

And following Toronto’s acquisition of Sergio Santos, here’s a list of all of the teams truly interested in spending significant dollars on a closer:

The Boston Red Sox

Really, that’s it. The Angels have the money to spend on a top reliever, but they already have a very promising ninth-inning guy in Jordan Walden. The Reds, Mets, Orioles and Padres are more interested in bargain hunting then spending big money on a reliever.

We know the Red Sox are interested in Oakland’s Andrew Bailey and that they’ve at least discussed Huston Street with the Rockies, but why go that route when a couple of these relievers are going to hit the bargain bin. The Red Sox might well end up getting Madson for Heath Bell money (three years, $27 million) or Rodriguez for $16 million over two years. Sure, they’d take Bailey over K-Rod all things being equal, but at the price of a couple of top prospects, things are far from equal.

My guess is that the Angels will be involved with Madson, so maybe he’ll still get his four-year deal. But that’s far from a certainty. The Reds could scrape up the money for K-Rod or Cordero, but they’re at least as likely to trade for a closer candidate. Francisco might want to seriously think about accepting that arbitration offer from the Jays, even though he’d be a setup man in Toronto. It’s doubtful he’ll do better elsewhere.

  1. thefalcon123 - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Stark says “As closer openings vanish, lots of buzz at meetings that Ryan Madson could accept arb w/ #Phillies & KRod might have to do same w/ #Brewers”

    Interesting…

  2. xmatt0926x - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    That wouldn’t shock me at all. If I’m Ryan Madson i’m taking arbitration if I can’t get anything more than a 2 year or weak 3 year deal and trying my luck again next year.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:35 PM

      I think the Phillies would probably welcome that as well. I still don’t think I understand the BoSox not offering him a good enough offer to draw him away from that though. I’d be a bit surprised and enjoy the strength of the Phillies bullpen.

  3. Ari Collins - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    As a Sox fan, that all sounds excellent, but my main issue is this:

    @*#% the heck is going on in that photo?!

    Has no one signed Madson because he’s actually a zombie?

    • uyf1950 - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:59 PM

      In his bio it has him as having a walk on role in the TV show “The Walking Dead”.

      • foreverchipper10 - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:44 PM

        Really? I love that show. If anyone here is not watching it, they sure as hell should be. If not, I will bite you.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM

      He had a tasty piece of chocolate on his cheek that he just noticed.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      His impression of Rocky Balboa of course.

  4. ame123 - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    This is all true. Except most of those guys stink. Madson is the only really good one and with Boras he wont come cheap. He’d rather take 8Mil from the Phils and try again next season.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      Frank Francisco: 9.41 K/9, 3.20 BB/9, 38.6% GB. Maybe too many fly balls, and only average control, but still excellent. Definitely doesn’t stink.

      K-Rod: 9.92 K/9, 3.27 BB/9, 51.8% GB. Same average control as Frank Frank, but even better strikeout rate and much better wormburning. Definitely doesn’t stink.

      (Wouldn’t wanna touch Cordero or Lidge though either.)

      • djpostl - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM

        lol Francisco and K-Rod do stink, sorry. An ERA consistently above 3.50 (3.72 for his career) as a closer/reliever is putrid, it’s similar to a starter whose ERA is always above 5.00.

        As for K-Rod, dude was a bottom feeder for last three years. ERA around 1.80 vs sub-.500 clubc, near 4.00 vs teams over .500. His lifeless fastball and just a slider won’t survve versus the offenses in AL East. Dude will get torched.

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:37 PM

        Frank Francisco:

        Jays fans will beg to differ… All I’ve gotten recently from my blue bird friends is a bunch of Hurrays and Huzzahs that Frank Francisco is no longer the closer.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:00 PM

        And Sox fans turned on Keith Foulke a year after he was a major part of their 2004 championship. Fanbases are not known for objectively analyzing relievers.

    • markfrednubble - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:21 PM

      Ah, no one would rather take $8m to set up another closer than the suggested 3 year, 27m (Heath Bell compare) to close for a contender.

      I agree with Matthew’s premise here. It’s no fun to have a mediocre closer but these guys are such crap shoots (unless they are named Rivera) that big long-term contracts almost always backfire. You won’t find many Red Sox fans regretting that the Sox didn’t give Papelbon a deal like the Phillies did.

      I think Boston will either sign Madson for that Bell-type deal or maybe try signing two of the other guys for a lot less. If Jenks comes back healthy they can be deep enough to move Bard to the rotation, which I think is a great idea.

  5. djpostl - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Lol they might not pay much … but you get what you pay for. There is nothing but duct tape and wishful thinking holding those guys together as bonafide, “I’d feel comofrtable with them closing in important games versus good lineups” kind of closers.

    Bunch of washed up, reclamation projects or guys who had one good year as a closer.

    • chaseutley - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      Sitting pretty like a guy looking to score at last call.

      If you’ve tossed back enough hooch to convince yourself that they’re still in they’re prime, more power to you. Just don’t be surprised if you’re chewing off your own arm the next morning.

  6. rgledz - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    If you want your kid to be a closer someday, make sure he has the name Francisco somewhere in his name.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      And Frank has it twice! (Kind of.)

  7. yourrealmom - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    How can the Angels not be involved in getting a closer..Walden was hit and miss and the rest of the bullpen???..there is a reason why they were third in all of baseball for blown saves….cant feed me Walden is the answer crap

  8. baseballisboring - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    It’s pretty amazing to me how the whole sabermetrics movement never quite caught up to late inning relievers in terms of price. I don’t think the Sox need a closer per se, I think Bard is definitely capable of handling the job, but Bard and Pap were the only shut down relievers we had last year, so we have to fill that void somehow. I’m not really banking on a repeat performance from Aceves, and hell, we might even have to try him in the rotation. I’d rather see them sign a K-Rod or Cordero type for modest dollars than spend big on Madson or trade valuable assets to get Bailey.

    • ame123 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:06 PM

      You’ll be pulling your hair out with those two.

  9. bozosforall - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    “Sitting pretty” only if you are willing to overpay for subpar closers. They blew it when they let Papelbum go. He’s better than anyone on that list. Here’s to the further decline in Boston.

    • wendell7 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      ah,… there he is. we were wondering when you get home from school

      • bozosforall - Dec 6, 2011 at 6:47 PM

        School? Oh yeah…I was teaching your mom how to handle the big one.

    • bosoxfan1950 - Dec 6, 2011 at 6:20 PM

      The Red Sox did NOT “let Papelbon go.” He bolted! Stated emphatically for years that he wanted to “test the free agency market.” Then jumps on the first offer made to him and rides it hell bent for leather out of town without ever giving the Red Sox (or anyone else for that matter) the opportunity to make a counter offer. Given the sad state of affairs with the Red Sox at the time, who could blame Papelbon for the quickest exit from Boston since “Hawk” Harrelson? But, no, we didn’t “let Papelbon go.”
      As for your proposed toast to decline, why don’t you go to some other team’s “site” and blog yourself..

      • bozosforall - Dec 6, 2011 at 6:46 PM

        If the Red Sux wanted him so bad, they should have pre-empted all offers before he even shopped himself. Fact of the matter is that they low-balled him (like they always do when they think that they hold all the cards…and like they are low-balling Ortiz right now) and he said screw them. Like I said before, players want substantial compensation for having to play in that craphole of a city.

        As for this “site”, it’s a general site, moron…not a Red Sux one. So go “blog” yourself…and by “blog” I mean a four-letter word for copulate.

  10. StayAnchoredinHope - Dec 6, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    *than* spending big money on a reliever.

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