Ryan Madson saved 30 games in 2016, the second time he's reached that milestone in three years. He sustained his velocity, which has rebounded since 2010, while notching fewer than 3.0 BB/9 for his sixth straight season and continuing his sometimes decent, sometimes great ability to induce groundballs. That's just about where the positives end, though. After all, he blew seven save chances. Madson's strikeout rate was his lowest since 2006, and his ERA was soared to its highest mark since that same season. He also struggled to get ahead with first-pitch strikes. Perhaps he was fatigued two years removed from a three-year, injury-riddled absence. While his stuff probably will be good enough that he'll improve in the strikeout column, he comes into 2017 as one of the shakiest closers -- that is, if the Athletics don't trade him or demote him. Speculating on a successor likely will pay off more than buying Madson, even at his low market value.
Madson fired a scoreless inning in Saturday's 11-6 split-squad Cactus League loss to the Reds, giving up two hits. Madson converted 30 of 37 save opportunities last season but struggled early this spring. The veteran has generated a 6.43 ERA by giving up five earned runs on 12 hits and two walks over seven innings, but the majority of that damage occurred over his first two outings. Madson has settled down since that point, giving up just one earned run across the five innings he's pitched in his five subsequent trips to the mound. The 36-year-old reliever remains in contention for a closer role that could still be handled by committee to open the season.
Madson's recent arm soreness was attributed to his efforts to add a splitter to his pitch arsenal, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Madson said that he liked how the pitch was behaving, but opted to stop practicing it due to the soreness it brought on. Madson's Cactus League debut Tuesday was a letdown as he gave up two runs in a single inning, so the veteran closer has plenty to improve off moving forward. Health permitting, he's still the favorite to hold the closing job heading into the 2017 season, but Oakland's management has said that the job may be up for grabs over their spring games if another reliever impresses the club.
Madson (arm) allowed two earned runs off three hits in his spring debut against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Madson's rough first outing could very well be attributed to the bout of arm soreness that he'd been dealing with over the course of the club's camp. Throughout the remainder of his Cactus League games, he'll work to solidify his spot as Oakland's closer and set himself up to rebound from a disappointing 2016 season. During the most recent campaign, he blew seven of his 37 save opportunities while posting a 3.62 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, both of which were at their highest marks since 2006.
Madson (arm) is scheduled to make his first appearance this spring Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Madson was originally set to make his debut Thursday, but pushed it back a few days due to some general arm soreness. After some rest, the 36-year-old should be back on the mound Tuesday without any restrictions. He was the A's primary closer in 2016 (converting 30 of 37 save chances), but Madson will compete with John Axford, Santiago Casilla, and Sean Doolittle for the job in 2017.
Madson was held out of the A's game Thursday due to general arm soreness, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. It doesn't seem to be too serious, as manager Bob Melvin said he's just been pushed back a few days, but it's something to watch. After converting 30 of 37 save opportunities last year, Madson isn't guaranteed the closer job in 2017 and will be competing with serviceable relievers such as John Axford, Santiago Casilla, and Sean Doolittle.