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Fantasy baseball nuggets: Ryan Madson

By Nicholas Minnix

Now that the Seattle Mariners have signed Fernando Rodney -- a move that bites for those who were believers in Danny Farquhar -- there aren't any more relievers already classified as closers remaining on the market.

The Milwaukee Brewers brought back Francisco Rodriguez, who'll probably serve as a Jim Henderson insurance policy. The Miami Marlins were willing to give Carlos Marmol a major league deal. And the Chicago White Sox have brought in St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies castoff Mitchell Boggs for a look in spring training. Granted, it's to varying degrees, but none of those right-handers is likely to open this season as his team's projected saves leader.

Rehabbing relievers Andrew Bailey (shoulder surgery) and Joel Hanrahan (extensive elbow surgery, including TJS) will receive some feelers and will probably sign somewhere eventually. Their future organizations can't have much in the way of expectations for either of them, though.

Which leaves, really, Ryan Madson as the most tantalizing free-agent relief pitcher available. That's in part because of the tidbit that emerged after his showcase today.

Here is, of course, another pitcher whose recent medical history doesn't immediately inspire confidence. But here's a noteworthy difference: Madson has had ample time to recover from the April 2012 ligament replacement in his right elbow and subsequent complications during his recovery, which included May 2013 surgery to clean up scar tissue around the site.

Madson isn't in bad shape if he hit 93 today. That's not far from where he sat when he last pitched in the majors, which was in 2011 for Philadelphia Phillies. I hope I don't have to remind folks that he was one of the best relievers in the game before TJS claimed his then foreseeable future. He'll be showing up on cheat sheets soon -- and worth a bid if he signs with a team whose closer situation is far from settled, e.g., the Baltimore Orioles or New York Mets.


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