Ryan Madson went 4-2 with a 2.37 earned run average and 32 saves in 34 chances… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
The Angels are reportedly close to a one-year deal with closer Ryan Madson, a low-risk, potentially high-reward investment for a team that is in dire need of back-of-the-bullpen help.
CSNPhilly.com first reported over the weekend that the sides were in serious talks, and CBSSports.com reported Tuesday morning that the 6-foot-6, 200-pound right-hander was nearing an agreement with the club.
Madson, a Moreno Valley native, went 4-2 with a 2.37 earned run average and 32 saves in 34 chances as the Philadelphia Phillies' closer in 2011.
But after signing a one-year, $8.5-million deal with the Cincinnati Reds last winter, Madson, 32, blew out his throwing elbow and underwent ligament-replacement surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2012 season.
Because Madson probably won’t be ready for the start of the 2013 season, and because pitchers often struggle in their first few months back from Tommy John surgery, he could come relatively cheap -- his contract is expected to include a relatively low base salary with incentives that would increase his pay for games finished.
But if Madson can regain his 2011 form, he would provide a huge boost to a bullpen that has led the American League in blown saves in each of the past two seasons, with 22 in 2012 and 25 in 2011.
Madson, whose fastball averaged 94 mph in 2011, would give the Angels another hard-throwing right-hander to go with current closer Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and Jordan Walden. Madson struck out 62 and walked 16 in 60 2/3 innings in 2011.
But Madson features a changeup that none of the other three right-handers have mastered, a pitch that helped him limit left-handers to a .198 average in 2011 and would add another dimension to the bullpen for General Manager Jerry Dipoto, who strives for variety among his relievers.
The Angels also have a veteran left-hander in Scott Downs and have been pursuing Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa, a hard-throwing right-hander with an excellent split-fingered fastball.
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