The Blue Jays are in need of pitching and the bullpen is an area in which they might look to add a veteran or two. Ryan Madson could be a good pickup after a bad season from the 38-year-old.
The Blue Jays are desperate for pitching, especially for starting pitching , as relievers are generally easier to cover. However, adding a veteran to a young bullpen would be a good move for the Blue Jays.
Ryan Madson, 38, had a season to forget between the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his numbers suggest he was, to some extent, unlucky.
Madson finished the season with a 5.47 earned run average (ERA) in 52.2 innings pitched. That ERA does not look promising at all, but his fielding independent pitching (FIP) was at a fine 3.98, which is evidence he was unlucky, and that he pitched much better than what his ERA suggests. More over, his SO/9 was at a good 9.2. His control was worse than in 2017, and he gave up seven home runs, five more than in ’17, two issues that have surely inflated his overall numbers.
However, apart from his SO/9 and FIP, another statistic that suggests he still has potential to be a dominant reliever once again is his velocity. His average four-seamer velocity increased from 95.7 in 2017, to 95.9 in 2018, so the heat is still there.
A factor that might have to do with his dissapointing year is his pitch variety. This past season he used his four-seamer in 40.9% of his pitches, while his sinker and changeup were used 21.5% and 21.8% respectively. He utilized his curveball for 12.6% and cutter 3.6%.
In 2017, Madson alternated a lot more. He actually used his sinker (34.3%) more than his four-seamer (31.6%), while his curve was present in 18.6% of his pitches, and his changeup in 15.3%. Overall, one conclusion that can be drawn from looking at his pitch usage is that his over use of his four-seamer ended up costing him.
The Blue Jays currently have Ken Giles, Joe Biagini, Ryan Tepera, Tim Mayza and Danny Barnes as their main relievers. David Paulino could either be ran as a starter or reliever, but considering the lack of starters the Jays have, it’s more likely that he competes for the 5th rotation spot or begins the season as a starter in Triple-A. Therefore, there’s definitely place for a couple of signings for a bullpen which could be thankful for some veteran presence like Madson’s.
The cost to sign Madson will not be high and his experience, veteran presence and the numbers that show he could still be a dominant reliever are enough reasons to sign Ryan Madson. On top of that, relievers have brough great returns in trade deadline trades over the past years and the Blue Jays might very well be sellers once again in 2019, which would make Madson a possible valuable trade chip.