The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are reportedly close to signing free agent closer Ryan Madson to a one-year deal. The 32-year old Madson, who didn't throw a pitch in 2012 following Tommy John surgery after signing a one-year deal with the Reds during the winter, will be the sixth different full-time Angels closer in the last six seasons. The back of the Anaheim bullpen has been extremely turbulent after Francisco Rodriguez cashed in on his record setting 2008 season.
In 2012, Ernesto Frieri served as the primary Angels closer after being acquired from the Padres at the beginning of May. Frieri didn't allow a homer as an Angel until after the All-Star Break, but the floodgates were opened in the second half with Frieri allowing seven homers in just 28 innings. His control and fastball heavy repetoire necessitated a change in the ninth inning for the Angels.
If healthy, and all indications are that he is, Madson will present the Angels with a fantastic option at the end of games. He'll likely have to take a pay cut from the $8 million he made in 2012 to not throw a pitch, making the signing that much more impressive. The Braves signed Billy Wagner to a one-year deal for the 2010 season after Wagner missed most of 2009 following Tommy John in 2008, and Wagner provided Atlanta with a two-win season and served to ease Craig Kimbrel into the closer's role in 2011. If Madson can have the same impact that Wagner did with the Braves, this contract is going to work out very well for the Angels. Giving a reliever a one year deal is a much better investment than giving a free agent a three year deal, like the Dodgers did with Brandon League and the Reds are close to doing with Jonathan Broxton.