Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:34 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 6:35 am

Rangers look at Madson but he fits Angels, others

The Texas Rangers have checked in on Ryan Madson, who's still a free agent closer. He doesn't appear to be a perfect fit, but the Rangers front office has proven to be one of the most creative and surprising in baseball over the past several years. So who knows?

The Rangers have their hand in a lot of things (currently their most pressing thing is signing star Japanese starter Yu Darvish). They did previously think about trading for Andrew Bailey, the closer traded from the A's to the Red Sox, and that's at least a sign they are considering improving a very solid bullpen.

The Rangers already have Joe Nathan, Mike Adams and if you want to count Neftali Feliz, who's moving to the rotation, well, they have him, too. Nathan was signed to be the closer after a nice second half in 2011 following his retur from Tommy John surgery, and he surely expects to be the closer. Would Madson come as a setup man? Would they ask Nathan to work in the eighth inning? While Nathan has a vast experience edge, Madson would appear to be the better choice of the two to close, as he saved 32 of 34 chances last year for the Phillies with 62 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings.

Maybe this is just the Rangers doing their due diligence. Or maybe it's them trying to keep an eye on the rival Angels, who already have made the biggest moves of all this spring by landing big-time free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, the former Rangers ace. The Rangers landed Adrian Beltre late last winter when they already had Michael Young for third base. They find a way.

Several teams have checked in on Madson. Some of them, no doubt, are just looking for a bargain on one of the better closers in the game last year. Even the Phillies are said to hcve checked back in, weeks after a potential deal with Madson blew up (GM Ruben Amaro declined to comment on that). But there's just about zero chance of a reunion there.

There's probably still a better chance Madson winds up with the Angels, who are also considering a run at him, or perhaps the Reds, who are still in the market for a closer. The Angels have publicly downplayed their chances to sign Madson. But behind the scenes, some of their people have talked about how beneficial it would be to have a veteran back-end presence to go with talanted sophomore Jordan Walden. They should have a lot of save chances. So maybe they do make a run at Madson. And maybe they perk up a bit if they think Texas might land him.

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