DALLAS -- It seems like there are fewer and fewer places for veteran free-agent reliever Ryan Madson to find the lucrative, multiyear contract he desires.
Does that mean he could accept salary arbitration from the Phillies?
The deadline for his decision is midnight Wednesday, and although Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. continues to believe the possibility Madson accepts is remote, it would not be a complete shock. Other than the Boston Red Sox, there does not seem to be a team willing to spend major money on a closer. Not the Reds. Not the Padres. Not the Mets. The Angels are out there. They spend money, and Madson certainly would love to pitch for his hometown team. But if Madson's agent, Scott Boras, feels he cannot land the big deal Madson wants, he could accept salary arbitration and try again on the free-agent market next year.
"A Scott Boras client has done that before," Amaro said Tuesday at the Winter Meetings.
It happened in 2003, when Kevin Millwood accepted salary arbitration from the Phillies. If Madson accepted, he would get a considerable raise from the $4.5 million he made in 2011. The Phillies could keep him to form one of baseball's best one-two punches in the back end of the bullpen with closer Jonathan Papelbon, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract last month. But Amaro also pointed out the Phillies could trade Madson.
"I think a bullpen with Madson and [Jose] Contreras and [Antonio] Bastardo and [Mike] Stutes and Papelbon would be OK," Amaro said.
The Phillies also offered salary arbitration to Jimmy Rollins, who is expected to decline, and Raul Ibanez, who will decline.