Los Angeles Angels: Ryan Madson

Closer Report: Will Madson get saves?

May, 17, 2013
5/17/13
4:58
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The last time Los Angeles Angels right-hander Ryan Madson threw a pitch in a big league regular-season game was late September 2011, in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves.

Madson retired Chipper Jones, Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman without incident, and on 14 pitches. Since then, Madson has been paid by the Cincinnati Reds and Angels, but he hasn't logged an inning for either squad. It's going to be a bit longer before he does.

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Could Francisco Cordero fall in Angels' laps?

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
3:02
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Judging by the one-year, $8.5 million contract Ryan Madson just agreed to with the Cincinnati Reds, the market for closers is drying up quickly. It was never a good year to be a closer anyway, with a flooded market depressing prices.

But it could play into the Angels' hands, assuming they still have a little payroll flexibility, which GM Jerry Dipoto continually asserts they do not. Francisco Cordero, a three-time All-Star, is still out there unsigned and could be a perfect stop gap until the Angels feel Jordan Walden is ready for the full-time pressure of the ninth inning.

The Angels' bullpen still looks like a potential weak link, perhaps overly reliant on aging setup men and a 24-year-old closer.

Is Cordero, 36, a great pitcher? He probably never was, but he's coming off a pretty strong season, in which he saved 37 of his 43 chances with a 1.019 WHIP and 2.45 ERA for the Reds. According to fangraphs.com, his fastball averaged 93 mph. His control is so much better than Walden's (2.8 walks per nine innings as opposed to 3.9), he'd give Angels fans a lot less to worry about on an average night.

It might be the final piece of what they hope is a championship-caliber puzzle.

Does Jordan Walden deserve another shot?

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
11:27
AM PT
Timing is so crucial in sports. Ask any kicker.

As the Angels wrap up their winter business heading into spring training next month, they'll be contemplating whether to spend on another seasoned bullpen arm to go with LaTroy Hawkins and the remnants of the Angels' 2011 bullpen. One reason they're still looking into it is how Jordan Walden's rookie season ended.

Walden was on the fringes of Rookie of the Year talk and cruising toward an impressive debut season when things fell apart. In Walden's final three appearances, he allowed five of the 20 earned runs for his season, his ERA shooting from an impressive 2.34 to a marginal (for a closer) 2.98.

The Angels were in the thick of the wild-card race (thanks, mostly, to Boston's collapse) before Walden fielded an Adam Rosales grounder and sailed it into center field on Sept. 25, part of a brutal meltdown against Oakland that effectively stubbed out the Angels' season.

Walden, one of the hardest throwers in baseball, said he has managed to put that rough finish behind him.

"I took it as a good season," he said Thursday. "I've tried to forget all the bad times and just kind of build on it, looking forward to this new year."

Walden said he hasn't spoken with anyone in the Angels about his role for 2012, but unless the team signs an expensive closer like Ryan Madson or Francisco Cordero in the coming days, it looks like the job will be his to lose. Hawkins is 39 and has spent most of his career as a setup man. Lefty Scott Downs will be 36 by opening day and has just 17 saves in 10 major-league seasons.

Walden made the AL All-Star team and finished seventh in ROY balloting last season.

"Oh yeah, that's what I want to do, but I'm just happy to be part of the team and help us win," Walden said.

Walden, 24, said he changed his off-season routine and hired a personal trainer to help him deal with the rigors of a major-league season. He has already begun his long-tossing regimen. Walden appeared in 62 games last year, two seasons after he transitioned from starting to relieving.

"You learn a lot about how long a season is, what's expected of you and how your body's got to be in shape," he said.

Bowden: Recipe for the next Angels' GM

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
4:50
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In light of today's news that Tony Reagins is stepping down as Angels general manager, here are some ideas for the new GM of the Angels (whoever that ends up being) for this off-season:

1. Try to trade for Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals or David Wright of the Mets. If that doesn’t work sign Aramis Ramirez.

The Angels have not gotten enough run production from the third base position and Alberto Callaspo and they need a long term solution. After Evan Longoria of the Rays, two of the best third baseman in baseball reside in the National League East, in Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals and David Wright of the Mets. The Nationals have been trying to acquire a long term solution in center field and the Angels could afford to offer a package starting with CF Peter Bourjos and starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood for Zimmerman. The Nationals would then put their 2011 first round choice Anthony Rendon at third base and use the money saved on Zimmerman to sign free agent starting pitcher C.J. Wilson.

If that doesn’t work the Angels could offer a similar package to the Mets for David Wright, although that would be less likely since New York already might lose Jose Reyes to free agency. If the Angels are unable to trade for Zimmerman or Wright, then the third alternative would be to sign free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez.

Either way, the Angels need more power and run production from the hot corner. If they need to trade Bourjos to get an impact player like Zimmerman or Wright, then obviously Mike Trout would take over in center field.

2. Try to sign Jose Reyes. Reyes is the best free agent fit for the Angels. He’s one of the best lead-off hitters and defensive shortstops in baseball. He has better range than Aybar to both sides and a very strong arm. He plays with energy and enthusiasm and he would completely change the Angels' lineup, creating more fastballs for the middle of the lineup. With Reyes and Trout at the top, this offense would be much improved in 2011.

3. Sign one of the best free agent closers that will be available, whether that is Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell or Ryan Madson, or trade for Joakim Soria of the Royals and move Jordan Walden back to the 8th inning and let him continue and develop in that role.

This year's playoff teams are using a closer for the 8th inning and another for the 9th inning. The Yankees have Soriano, Robertson and Rivera. The Tigers have Benoit and Valverde and the Rangers have Adams and Feliz. The Angels need to follow that formula and reduce their blown saves in 2012.

4. Sign Hiroki Kuroda to be their 4th starter. Kuroda loves Los Angeles and only wants to pitch here or in Japan. The Angels should steal him from the Dodgers and let him be their fourth starter behind Weaver, Haren and Santana. He provides solid innings and is one of the more underrated middle-of-the-rotation starters in baseball.

The Angels next GM will have the opportunity to make a few bold moves that could certainly put the team back into the post-season next year.

Jim Bowden served as the senior vice president and GM for the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals, and is an analyst for ESPN.com.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
18 3.59 169 213
OTHER LEADERS
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169