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11/07/11 10:55 PM EST

Talks between Phillies, Madson heat up

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies entered the offseason with two top priorities -- re-sign Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson.

The club is pushing forward on at least one of them.

Sources confirmed Monday night that talks between the Phils and Madson have ratcheted up, although it is unknown if the sides are any closer to a deal. ESPN.com first reported Philadelphia is making a "strong push" to keep Madson. FOXSports.com cited a source saying the parties are "possibly nearing an agreement."

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. does not discuss contract negotiations, but he said Saturday that he cannot afford to be patient and let the free-agency process drag deep into the winter. If that happens, and Rollins and Madson ultimately sign elsewhere, Philadelphia could find itself without suitable replacements.

"If Jimmy and Ryan are not on our club, then we have to make sure we have the most potential choices," Amaro said. "We don't want to let all of our options slip by, so we're going to be aggressively patient, I guess."

The Phillies also have some interest in free-agent closers Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell and Joe Nathan, should they get the feeling that they can't bring back Madson at a price they're comfortable with.

Papelbon and Bell are represented by Seth and Sam Levinson, who have a good relationship with the Phillies. The Levinsons had four clients on the Phils' 2011 roster: Raul Ibanez, Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino and Ross Gload.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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