Ryan Madson

Ryan Michael Madson (born August 28, 1980) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Washington Nationals, and Los Angeles Dodgers. Madson won World Series championships with the Phillies in 2008 and the Royals in 2015. He is second all-time in postseason pitching appearances; only Mariano Rivera has pitched in more postseason games.

Ryan Madson
Madson with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008
Born: (1980-08-28) August 28, 1980
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 27, 2003, for the Philadelphia Phillies
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 2018, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record61–48
Earned run average3.48
Career highlights and awards

Madson throws three types of fastballs. His four-seamer and sinker both average 95 miles per hour. He also throws a cut fastball that averages 93 mph, and a circle changeup around 85 mph.[1]

Early life

Madson was born in Long Beach, California. He graduated from Valley View High School in 1998 with a 3.5 GPA. He committed to play college baseball for USC.[2] His uncle, Steve Barr, played for the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.

Professional career

Philadelphia Phillies (2003–2011)

The Philadelphia Phillies selected Madson in the ninth round (254th overall) of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft. He made his major league debut in 2003. In 2005, he finished with a 4.14 earned run average in 87 innings. The Phillies converted him back to a starting pitcher, the role he held throughout his minor league career in 2006.

By 2008 Madson had become part of the "bridge to Lidge (closer Brad Lidge)", developing into an outstanding set-up man. With a devastating changeup, Madson found increased velocity, hitting as high as 97 miles per hour in the NLCS. Madson earned his first playoff victory when the Phillies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS. He pitched 1+23 innings, striking out one while allowing one hit and one walk.

When Brad Lidge was placed on the disabled list on June 9, 2009, Ryan Madson was the Phillies' choice for interim closer.[3][4][5] Madson got his first save in his new role on June 10, 2009, against the New York Mets.[6]

In Game 6 of the 2010 National League Championship Series, Madson was the losing pitcher when he gave up a solo home run to Juan Uribe in the eighth inning of a 3–2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.[7]

Madson began the 2011 season once again as the Phillies' main set-up reliever. However, with Lidge and José Contreras on the disabled list in May 2011, Madson was chosen to close for the Phillies. as of August 21, 2011, Madson converted 23 saves in 25 opportunities and retained the closer role even after Lidge returned from the DL in July. Madson finished the season with 32 saves, 62 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.37.

A free agent, Madson was close to negotiating a four-year, $44 million contract to remain with the Phillies, but Phillies general manager Rubén Amaro, Jr. reneged on the verbal agreement and instead signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year $50 million deal to replace Madson as the team's closer.[8]

Injuries and initial retirement

During the 2011–12 offseason, Madson agreed to a one-year $8.5 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds.[9] Before the end of spring training, Madson had a torn ligament in his right elbow, requiring Tommy John surgery, and missed the entire 2012 season.[10] He never pitched for the Reds, as he declined his option on October 31 and became a free agent.[11]

On November 28, 2012, Madson agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.[12][13] He began the 2013 season on the 15-day disabled list as he attempted to recover from the Tommy John surgery.[14] Later in the season, the Angels transferred Madson to the 60-day disabled list.[15] He was released on August 5 without appearing in a game.[16][17]

Madson tried out with several teams in January 2014 but received no minor league deals from them, so he retired.[8][18]

Kansas City Royals (2015)

Madson had become a youth baseball coach in California after his retirement, and in 2014, he received a call from Kansas City Royals executive Jim Fregosi Jr., asking Madson to tutor a high school pitcher. Working with the student inspired Madson to return to MLB, and he contacted Fregosi again that winter.[19] On January 4, 2015, the Royals signed Madson to a minor league contract that included an invitation to spring training.[20] Madson was the last player added to the Royals' 25-man roster, beating out Brian Flynn for the final bullpen position in a decision that manager Ned Yost called "the hardest ... I think I've ever had to make".[21] He made his first major league appearance in over three years on April 6, 2015, pitching a scoreless ninth inning in the Royals' 10-1 Opening Day defeat of the Chicago White Sox.[22] By the end of May, Madson had become a staple of Kansas City's strong bullpen, with a 1.74 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 20+13 innings over 18 appearances.[23] With Wade Davis and Greg Holland unavailable, Madson earned the first save of this new stage of his career on August 9, holding the White Sox scoreless in the ninth inning for a 5-4 victory.[24] By the end of the month, Madson began to experience fatigue and "dead arm", and he was put on rest in order to be ready for a postseason push.[25]

In Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS against the Houston Astros, Madson gave up two home runs which put the Royals behind 6–2 with six outs until elimination, however, the Royals rallied to win the game and eventually the series. In Game 6 of the 2015 ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, Madson surrendered a game-tying two run homer to José Bautista, but the Royals scored the game winning run in the bottom of the same inning to win the game and the series.[8]

Oakland Athletics (2016–2017)

On December 11, 2015, Madson signed a three-year contract worth $22 million with the Oakland Athletics.[26] In his first season, Madson was given the closer job while lefty Sean Doolittle recovered from injury. Madson saved 30 games, and despite blowing 7 saves, he finished with a 3.62 ERA in 63 games. In 2017, Madson was relieved of the closer role and was placed as the setup man. Through 40 games, he had a 2.06 ERA while improving his K/9 from 2016.

Washington Nationals (2017–2018)

On July 16, 2017, Madson was traded to the Washington Nationals, along with Sean Doolittle, for Blake Treinen, Sheldon Neuse, and Jesus Luzardo.[27] Madson drew criticism from some when on August 4, 2018, he hit Reds star first baseman Joey Votto on the knee with a 96 mph fastball on the first pitch, apparently in retaliation for an accidental hit by pitch of Nationals star Bryce Harper. Votto, who screamed profanity at Madson in anger over the pitch, ended up going on the DL.

Los Angeles Dodgers (2018)

On August 31, 2018, Madson was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for minor league pitcher Andrew Istler.[28] Madson was the winning pitcher in game 7 of the 2018 NLCS.

Personal life

Madson is married to Sarah,[29] with whom he has five children.[30][31]

Since his Tommy John surgery, at the suggestion of his Anaheim Angels teammates, Madson has trained with EVO Ultrafit in Phoenix, Arizona, and carries around a POV Sport, an electrical modality, with him at all times during the season.[32]

Madson's uncle, Steve Barr, played in the major leagues from 1974 to 1976 for the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.


  1. "Player Card: Ryan Madson". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  2. Klein, Gary (April 30, 1998). "Major League Experts Give a Close-Up Critique of Some of the Southland's Top Baseball Prospects". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  3. Jim Salisbury. "Ryan Madson becomes Phillies' closer". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  4. "Lidge to DL; Madson should pick up saves". ESPN.
  5. "Madson now Phillies closer". CBS. Archived from the original on June 14, 2004.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. AP. "Utley's homer powers Phillies past Mets in 11". Fox Sports.
  7. Haft, Chris (October 24, 2010). "SF wins on Juan's swing; Philly KO'd, looking". MLB.com. Archived from the original on January 9, 2011. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
  8. "Reliever Ryan Madson Helps the Royals in a Roundabout Way". The New York Times. October 27, 2015. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  9. "Reds complete agreement on one-year deal with closer Ryan Madson". Cincinnati Reds. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  10. "Cincinnati Reds closer Ryan Madson to miss season for elbow". ESPN.com. March 24, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  11. "Reds OF Ryan Ludwick, reliever Ryan Madson become free agents after declining contract options". Fox News. Associated Press. October 31, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  12. Gleeman, Aaron (November 28, 2012). "Done deal: Angels sign Ryan Madson to one-year contract". NBC Sports. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  13. Gonzalez, Alden (November 28, 2012). "Angels, Madson finalize one-year contract". MLB.com. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  14. "Angels put Madson, Taylor on DL". San Jose Mercury News. Associated Press. March 30, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  15. Gonzalez, Alden (June 26, 2013). "Halos acquire outfielder Cowgill from Mets". MLB.com. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  16. "Angels release Ryan Madson". ESPN.com. Associated Press. August 6, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  17. DiGiovanna, Mike (August 5, 2013). "Injured reliever Ryan Madson released by Angels [Updated]". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  18. "The conversation that led Ryan Madson back to baseball, and the Royals' bullpen". kansascity. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  19. McCullough, Andy (October 8, 2015). "The conversation that led Ryan Madson back to baseball, and the Royals' bullpen". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  20. Crasnick, Jerry (January 4, 2015). "Ryan Madson, Royals agree to deal". ESPN. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  21. "Madson makes the cut: Royals righty beats Flynn for final bullpen spot". FOX Sports. April 5, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  22. Palmer, Tod (April 6, 2015). "Four-year wait is over for Royals reliever Ryan Madson, who wraps up Monday's win". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  23. Narducci, Marc (May 26, 2015). "Comeback complete, Madson is a key reliever for Royals". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  24. "Madson earns save as Royals beat White Sox for 3-game sweep". USA Today. Associated Press. August 9, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  25. McCullough, Andy (August 29, 2015). "Pitcher Ryan Madson dealing with arm fatigue as Royals seek to rest him for playoffs". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  26. "Jameson Axford is running around like a typical toddler". USA Today.
  27. "Nats acquire Doolittle, Madson from A's". MLB.com. July 16, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  28. "Nationals acquire Andrew Istler from Dodgers for Ryan Madson". MASN. August 31, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  29. Leitereg, Neal J. (August 6, 2014). "MLB pitcher Ryan Madson lists Temecula wine country estate for sale". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  30. McCullough, Andy (February 22, 2015). "Ryan Madson rejuvenated after time away from baseball, excited for chance with Royals". Kansas City Star. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  31. Skretta, Dave. "Royals reliever Madson takes long road back to big leagues". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  32. Fox Sports (June 25, 2015). "Career revival: Kansas City Royals' Ryan Madson got jolt he needed via electric therapy". FOX Sports. Retrieved December 6, 2015.

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