Angels 'very unlikely' to add closer Ryan Madson
There have been persistent Internet rumors linking the Angels to free-agent closer Ryan Madson, but General Manager Jerry Dipoto said it is "very, very unlikely" the team will acquire the former Philadelphia Phillies relief ace, or any closer, for that matter.
"What I'll say with some degree of certainty is that our most significant acquisitions have already been made," Dipoto said, alluding to the signings of slugger Albert Pujols (10 years, $250 million) and pitcher C.J. Wilson (five years, $77.5 million).
"We're trying to add depth, and in a perfect world, we’d like to find another guy to join Jordan Walden, Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins to help with those last nine outs. But closer has never been the real priority."
Walden has the tools -- a 99-mph fastball, developing off-speed pitches and short memory -- to close, and he showed great promise as a rookie last season, going 5-5 with a 2.98 earned run average and 32 saves in 62 games.
The right-hander also led the American League with 10 blown saves, and some believe that he may benefit from a year of seasoning as a setup man under an established closer.
Downs went 6-3 with a 1.34 ERA in 60 games and has been one of baseball’s best left-handed relievers for three years, and Hawkins, who signed a one-year, $3-million deal in December, went 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA for Milwaukee last season.
But Hawkins is 39, and Downs will be 36 next season, so their skills could erode, and if Walden struggles with his efficiency, the Angels bullpen may be good but not World Series-caliber.
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Ryan Madson. Credit: George Widman / Associated Press