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.