Perhaps one of the more dreaded, if not hated, names around baseball is that of Scott Boras. Pretty much the entire Phillies organization and fan base had a loathing of all things Boras since the J.D. Drew debacle, which now seems a lifetime ago. That's what made for such a curious announcement last week when Ryan Madson signed a three-year deal with the Phillies, which was negotiated by none other than Mr. Boras.
With Madson eligible for arbitration and entering the final year before he could declare for free agency, it appeared that Madson's games in a Phillies uniform were numbered. There were even some suggestions that the club could consider dealing him at some point rather than attempt to negotiate with Boras and ultimately wind up losing Madson to free agency anyway. Instead, Madson signs a long-term deal? How could that be?
According to Ryan Madson, he was never worried about his status with the Phillies. He's come up through the organization, enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and was able to take a nice, leisurely ride down Broad Street this past fall thanks to a World Series Championship. "I wasn't worried," explained Madson. "He [Boras] came out, actually took time out of his schedule to come out to New Jersey and talked to me and my wife for three or four hours that day, which meant a lot." Being realistic, Madson didn't necessarily expect the attention that his high-profile agent gave to him, especially considering the timing of his visit. "A guy that's dealing with 175, 200-million dollar contracts to come out for a guy that might sign for 12-million, but he took the time out to fly out from California and took the time with me and my family, to help us make the right decision."
Madson has had dreams of potentially being a starting pitcher or more lately, of becoming a closer in the majors. It was expected that once he reached free agency, Boras would position Madson as a closer candidate, even though he has had rare opportunities to close. The theory was that he would tout Madson as a guy who could step in to a team's closer role and as such a guy, could command the amount of money that closers can command. While Madson would still like the opportunity to close - and he'll only be 31 when his contract extension is up - the chance for security for him and his family was a key issue, although free agency is always tempting. Even with the trouble that some players are having finding lucrative free agent deals right now, Madson still had to weigh the potential of free agency with security.
"Free agency is the spot that every player wants to be in. It's a good leverage point," said Madson. "But like I said, it's just the security of things and I think it was a good deal on both parts."
For his part, Madson has nothing bad to say about Boras. Not only did the super-agent take time out for a personal trip to New Jersey, but he presented Madson with all the information that he needed to make a decision. "I've got to give him a lot of credit," emphasized Madson. "He just gives his clients the most information he can give and he can give information that a lot of agents don't give. He sees a vision of players that he has and he's been doing it so long, that he can see the vision. He knows what's going to happen." Madson and his wife ultimately made the decision to sign with the Phillies based on the information that Boras gave them in their discussion at Madson's home. "He gave me the most information any other agent could give me, as far as the future, and then he lets me make the decision."
In the end, Madson gave the go-ahead to Boras to try to get a deal from the Phillies and Boras was able to get a deal much like he had outlined for Madson at their meeting. Boras had told Madson that he thought he could get him three years and about four-million per season from the Phillies. "He told me, 'if you and your family want to take the 12, I'll go out and get you the 12' and that's what he did."
Ryan Madson's career stats