In Bad News for Phillies Fans and Wishful Thinkers, Ryan Madson Still Wants to Close

In Bad News for Phillies Fans and Wishful Thinkers, Ryan Madson Still Wants to Close

Amongst the Phillies' clear offseason needs is an arm to own the eighth inning and set up a reliable bridge to closer Jonathan Papelbon.

None of the these options in 2012 — Chad Qualls, Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes, Michael Schwimmer, Joe Savery, Raul Valdes, Jake Diekman, Jeremy Horst, Justin De Fratus, Brian Sanches (if I forgot anyone, I'm sorry) — proved capable.

Jose Contreras spent most of the year on the DL and the Phillies declined his option.

Josh Lindblom came over in the Shane Victorino trade and was consistently erratic (4.63 ERA, 1.543 WHIP) in 26 appearances.

Phillipe Aumont has legitimate stuff if he can just learn to locate.

So the Phillies need someone to take over in the eighth, leading many a fan to ask, "What's Ryan Madson doing right about now?"

You remember Ryan — the tall kid with the fastball, changeup and cutter whose agent overreached in free agency, landing his client a one-year deal that proved potentially disastrous to his long-term security when he almost immediately blew his UCL and headed for Tommy John surgery. The guy the Phillies opted not to pay $50 mil to so they could give it to Papelbon. You remember.

He would seem like a great candidate for the job, if only he wanted it. Which, unfortunately for anyone looking to get him back in red pinstripes, it doesn't seem like he does.

Courtesy Bob Brookover in the Inqy:

If Ryan Madson and his agent, Scott Boras, get their way, the veteran reliever will not return to the Phillies in 2013.

Boras said Sunday that Madson wants to remain a closer and that "a lot of teams have already expressed interest" in him in that role.

That, of course, would erase Madson from the Phillies' plans because they already have Jonathan Papelbon in the closer's spot.

I'll just have to keep wearing my Madson t-shirt "ironically," I guess. Miss you, Mad Dog.

Any other eigth-inning names you'd like Ruben Amaro to throw against the wall? Or are you too consumed by the black hole at third base and the magic show in the outfield?

In defense their respective defenses, Kevin Frandsen is genuinely likable and Dom Brown is just so damn long, the latter of which matters when it's basketball season and you're scouting centerfielders.

NBA Notes: Magic Johnson takes over Lakers, trades Lou Williams

NBA Notes: Magic Johnson takes over Lakers, trades Lou Williams

With the Los Angeles Lakers mired in the worst years in franchise history, owner Jeanie Buss has turned to Magic Johnson to lead them back to championship contention.

And she removed her own brother from his job to do it.

Jeanie Buss fired general manager Mitch Kupchak on Tuesday and put Johnson in charge of basketball operations. Jim Buss also was dismissed as the Lakers' executive vice president of basketball operations in a major shake-up of the struggling team's front office.

Jim Buss retains his ownership stake in the team, but Jeanie Buss has final say under the structure set up by their late father, Jerry Buss. She used it to chart a new course for the 16-time NBA champion franchise, which has the NBA's third-worst record at 19-39.

The Lakers are almost certain to miss the playoffs for a team-record fourth straight season, and they posted the worst record in team history during each of the previous three years.

"It was such a hard to decision to make, that I probably waited too long," Jeanie Buss said in an interview on Spectrum SportsNet, the Lakers' television network. "For that, I apologize to Laker fans. Now, with clarity and direction, and after talking with Earvin, a change was needed" (see full story).

Lakers: Deal reached to trade Williams to Rockets
The Los Angeles Lakers have swung their first deal of the Magic Johnson Era, agreeing to send Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a future draft pick.

Brewer's agent Wallace Prather confirmed the terms of the trade, which were first reported Tuesday by Yahoo Sports. Neither team immediately revealed the trade publicly.

"Thanx for the love L.A., I've enjoyed my stay," Williams wrote on Twitter.

Williams led the Lakers in scoring at 18.6 points per game, playing off the bench. Brewer was averaging 4.2 points for Houston.

The trade came hours after the Lakers announced the firing of general manager Mitch Kupchak and put Johnson in charge of basketball operations -- part of a massive front office shake-up.

And while the draft pick will help the Lakers' future, the Rockets just got deeper (see full story).

Grizzlies: Healthy roster for stretch run
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies' latest injury reports need a second glance, they appear a bit suspect.

Nobody is listed as hurt or nursing an injury. If someone is out, it's simply for rest.

No knee problems requiring forward Chandler Parsons to sit. No ankle issues for reserve forward Brandan Wright. No lingering problems from point guard Mike Conley's broken back earlier this season, and no more groin issues for defensive stalwart Tony Allen.

There's not even foot problems for All-Star center Marc Gasol.

Having no injuries to report is a relief for a team that has been hit hard the last two years. The Grizzlies are 34-24 and sixth in the Western Conference heading down the stretch.

"I think our chemistry is starting to come," forward Zach Randolph said. "Guys are starting to fill into their roles and starting to play a lot better, especially on the defensive end."

It was just a year ago on Feb. 20, 2016, that Gasol had season-ending surgery to repair his broken right foot, sending the Grizzlies spiraling into a historical season for injuries that finished with Memphis using an NBA-record 28 players . Memphis limped into its sixth consecutive playoff appearance and was mercifully swept out of the first round by the San Antonio Spurs (see full story).

Report: Jahlil Okafor 'will get moved by Thursday'

Report: Jahlil Okafor 'will get moved by Thursday'

Will Jahlil Okafor be traded?

That is the big question surrounding the Sixers as Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline inches closer.

According to one report, there’s already an answer.

Appearing on NBA TV Tuesday night, NBA.com’s David Aldridge said Okafor “will get moved by Thursday.”

Aldridge, who said the Sixers have “a lot of offers to sift through,” mentioned the Pacers and Kings as potential landing spots. Following the DeMarcus Cousins trade, Sacramento is left with Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein, who aren't offensive bigs. Koufos is averaging 6.1 points in 57 games this season, while Cauley-Stein is scoring 5.8 per game in his second NBA season.

“[The Kings] can offer more minutes and more opportunities for [Okafor] now,” Aldridge said.

According to multiple reports earlier on Tuesday, the Pacers have emerged as a suitor in the Okafor trade talks. Indiana is 29-28 and in sixth place of the Eastern Conference, but only a game ahead of Chicago — also a reported Okafor suitor — and two in front of Detroit.

Through a trying season, the Sixers’ second-year big man is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game. He’s played in 38 contests, 22 of which he has started after playing 53 games (48 starts) as a rookie and averaging 17.5 points and seven rebounds.