Redskins

Madson, Angels finalize $3.5 million, 1-year deal

Madson, Angels finalize $3.5 million, 1-year deal

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ryan Madson finalized a $3.5 million, one-year deal on Wednesday with the Los Angeles Angels, who believe the right-handed reliever will make a strong comeback from elbow ligament replacement surgery.

The longtime Philadelphia reliever, who can make up to $7 million, missed all of last season with the Cincinnati Reds, who signed him in January after a stellar performance in 2011 with the Phillies. He underwent surgery in April on a torn ligament in his right elbow.

Well ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery, Madson said he expects to be the Angels' closer. General manager Jerry Dipoto agreed the veteran is likely to supplant Ernesto Frieri when fully healthy.

``I feel like if I can throw the ball like I'm capable of, I expect to have that role,'' Madson said. ``I expect to come to spring training and earn the job.''

Madson pitched his first nine big-league seasons with Philadelphia, going 47-30 with 52 saves and a 3.59 ERA while logging several years as a setup man. He was outstanding after the Phillies promoted him to be their closer in 2011, earning 32 saves in 34 chances with a 2.37 ERA.

In addition to his base salary, Madson can earn $3.5 million in roster and performance bonuses with the Angels. He would receive $500,000 each for 45, 90, 135 and 180 days on the active roster or disabled list, not including days of the DL related to a right elbow or right shoulder injury. He also would get $250,000 each for 35, 40, 45 and 50 games finished

He nearly agreed to a $44 million, four-year deal with the Phillies before talks collapsed, and he signed with Cincinnati for a guaranteed $8 million instead. But Madson developed discomfort in his elbow during spring training and never pitched in the regular season for the Reds, putting him back on the free-agent market a year later.

The Angels, desperate for bullpen help after blowing an AL-worst 47 saves over the past two seasons, immediately investigated Madson's health. Los Angeles likely imagines a profitable veteran pickup in the mold of Joe Nathan, who had 37 saves for the Texas Rangers last year after missing parts of the previous two seasons following Tommy John surgery.

``He's very enthusiastic, and clearly loved the idea of playing for the Angels, which isn't something you can take for granted,'' Dipoto said. ``Somebody getting to do something they've wanted to do for their whole lives creates a very romantic edge to it.''

Indeed, the deal is a homecoming for Madson, who was born in Long Beach and grew up in Moreno Valley, Calif., roughly 45 miles east of Anaheim in Riverside County. He lives in nearby Temecula, Calif., in the offseason.

``I grew up an Angels fan,'' Madson said. ``I watched a lot of baseball, and that's how I gained a lot of my knowledge. I always enjoyed watching the local team and dreamed of playing for the Angels. I was a little concerned with letting Jerry know about my excitement about playing for Anaheim. There's a romantic part, but there's also a little edge to it.''

If healthy, Madson will be a major addition to a bullpen that foundered for much of the past two seasons after a decade as one of the majors' most consistent groups. Los Angeles got little reliable bullpen work from anybody except veteran Scott Downs and Frieri, who didn't allow an earned run in his first 26 appearances before the All-Star break.

``The domino effect is the most appealing thing here,'' Dipoto said. ``Having Ryan Madson join the bullpen and creating the depth gives us options to get ... those last nine outs. Our ability to get those last nine outs just got a lot better. He'll come into spring training and compete for that (closer) role, and if he's throwing the ball like he has in the past, he's one of the elite relievers in the game.''

Madson said he's making about 100 throws a day from 90 to 100 feet while rebuilding strength in his arm. With three months to prepare before spring training, he believes he'll be ready to join the Angels' bullpen in plenty of time for the season.

``If Ryan is ready on opening day, we're ready to roll,'' Dipoto said. ``If it takes a little longer than that, we have the ability to cover the front counter. It just creates a nice bullpen depth. Every good bullpen needs an anchorman, and Ryan Madson has proved his ability in that regard.''

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The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

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@kerrigan91

The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

The Kerrigan family is about to make a big-time addition to its roster.

Ryan and his wife, Jessica, already have two very, VERY, very, very cute bulldogs in their household. 

But on Tuesday, the two announced in separate Instagram posts that Jessica is 18 weeks pregnant and that a third human Kerrigan will arrive in 2019.

"Can I eat dis sign aftur da picturr iz over?" George the bulldog said when reached for comment on the news.

"How did dey gett such a smawl jerzey for da baby alreddy?" Franklin the other bulldog added.

This is all very wonderful.

Come next March, the world is about to get a little precious-er.

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The Caps are a bad faceoff team, here’s what they’re doing about it

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USA Today Sports

The Caps are a bad faceoff team, here’s what they’re doing about it

Tuesday’s practice was a lot like every other for the Caps until the end. After working on the power play, the team gathered at one end of the ice and began working on faceoffs. It was not just the centers, but wingers and defensemen alike got into the action with every win celebrated by loud cheers from teammates.

It should could as no surprise to see faceoffs as a point of emphasis for Washington considering just how much the team has struggled with them in the early season. The Caps rank 30th in the league in faceoff win percentage at only 43.8-percent.

“Yeah, there's little details that can help our game,” Lars Eller told reporters after practice. “The more you have the puck, easier the game is gonna be for you. We have a little more time in between games than usual during the season here, so we have the time to work on something like that, which can be little things that makes the difference.”

The team as a whole watched video on faceoffs prior to practice and then worked as a five-man unit during the drill. The main point of emphasis head coach Todd Reirden wanted to drill into his players was that faceoffs are not simply the responsibility of the centers alone.

“The days of it just being center vs. center and a clean draw being won back are a rarity now so it's important to have all five guys helping, something we watched video on earlier today,” Reirden said.

“You ask any centerman if they have a good group of wingers that can help them out on draws, that makes a huge difference,” Nic Dowd said. “I've been lucky, I have [Devante Smith-Pelly] on my right and I'm a righty so I win all my draws my backhand side so a lot of pucks go his way and he wins a lot of draws for me. That's huge. You have a guy that's sitting over there that's sleeping, you could go easily from five wins to five losses and then that's your night. It makes a big difference.”

Faceoffs were always going to be more of a struggle for the Caps this season with the departure of Jay Beagle who was, by far, the team’s best faceoff man for several years. Whenever the team needed a big draw, Beagle was the player relied upon to win it. With him gone, it is no surprise to see the team struggle.

But the Caps don’t like the idea of keeping possession off a draw just 43.8-percent of the time.

“It's essentially like the ref is creating a 50-50 puck and you snap it back, you get possession, now you're forechecking and it makes a huge difference,” Dowd said. “You play against those top lines, they want to be in the O-zone. Well, if you lose the draw, now you're playing D-zone, you win the draw now you're playing O-zone. So effectively, you've shut down their shift.”

There is a school of thought suggesting that perhaps the importance of winning faceoffs is overrated and a team’s faceoff win percentage is not overly important. Eller himself admitted as much to reporters.

What no one can argue, however, is that while some faceoffs may not matter all that much, there are some that are hugely important in a game. The Caps recognize that. For them, being a strong faceoff team is not necessarily about improving the team’s win percentage, but more about being able to win those critical draws.

“It's something that for the most part the players understand and a neutral zone faceoff with 14 minutes to go in the first period is not nearly as important as one that's 5-on-6 at the end of the game,” Reirden said. “We all know that. It's important to put the right people on those situations and give them the best chance to have success.”

“A center ice draw, I could see where guys could make the argument, well you lose it you still will play hockey and stuff could still happen,” Dowd said. “But I think the game is such a possession game now that any opportunity you can win a 50-50 puck whether that's a faceoff or a board battle, it makes a huge difference.”

 

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