The late entrance of the Arizona Diamondbacks into Zack Greinke's free agent market and his surprise signing will have ripple effects throughout the major league free agent market. After losing the 2015 NL Cy Young runner up, the Dodgers need to bolster their starting rotation and their bullpen. Information coming out of that transaction affect the Oakland Athletics' pursuit of right-handed reliever Ryan Madson.
After Greinke signed, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweeted that the Dodgers were now out of the running to sign Darren O'Day. Then, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that the A's and Dodgers "are among teams in on" Ryan Madson. That the Dodgers had been is not news, Heyman reported that in his Inside Baseball column on November 25.
What is news is that the A's remain in pursuit of Madson hours after John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reported, "Those in the know say it will take a three-year, $36 million deal to land the 35-year-old righty." However, "If the A's decide to pursue Madson, [A's general manager David] Forst said 'payroll is not an issue.' "
Payroll is never an issue for the Dodgers, of course, but losing Greinke is. If the Dodgers can't get the former production they got out of Zack Greinke with whomever they acquire to join their rotation, they'll want to make up for that in a major area for improvement, their bullpen. Despite pitching the second fewest innings in the National League, the Dodgers bullpen finished with the fifth highest ERA in the National League. Exposing that bullpen to more work won't help matters unless they get good relievers that can handle it.
What we don't know is whether Hickey's report of needing to offer three years and $36 million is merely Madson's desire or a realistic assessment of what the market will take to sign him. Madson might be a good reliever in 2016, but how far are you willing to project out his excellent performance as he enters his age-35 season? Let me put it this way, if the only way to outbid the Dodgers (or one of the other teams chasing Madson) is to give Madson a third year at $36 million, do you do it?