11/09/11 6:08 PM EST
No Phils-Madson deal yet; Papelbon also in mix
Team prepared to move forward with either veteran closer
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
It could be Ryan Madson.
But don't rule out Jonathan Papelbon.
Sources said the Phils and Madson's agent, Scott Boras, never reached an agreement on a four-year, $44 million deal, which has been widely reported since Tuesday. The sources said the parties continue to talk, but no deal is imminent.
While the Phillies have been talking to Boras about Madson, they've also been talking to Sam and Seth Levinson, who represent Papelbon. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said he wants a veteran closer in the bullpen next season, and Papelbon certainly fits the bill. He is a four-time All-Star with 219 career saves with the Boston Red Sox.
From 2007-11, Papelbon went 16-16 with a 2.59 ERA and 184 saves in 206 opportunities. His 89.3 save percentage ranks fourth in that span behind John Axford (93.4 percent), Mariano Rivera (91.8) and Jose Valverde (90.1).
Madson has a 2.89 ERA in the previous five seasons, but only became a closer this season. He went 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 32 saves in 34 opportunities.
Free agent Michael Cuddyer was in Philadelphia on Tuesday for a meet-and-greet with Phillies officials, a source said, confirming a FOX 29 report. Cuddyer, who spends his offseasons in Virginia, was back at the airport Tuesday evening.
Philadelphia has made re-signing Madson and Jimmy Rollins its top two offseason priorities. Locking up Madson would solidify a bullpen that only has one veteran arm: Jose Contreras, who is recovering from elbow surgery.
The Phils like Cuddyer because he is a high-character guy and a right-handed hitter who plays the corner infield and outfield positions. He could play first base with Jim Thome while Ryan Howard recovers from left Achilles surgery, and then move to left field after that.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.