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ANAHEIM ANGELS
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Reportedly signed RHP Ryan Madson to a one-year deal. [11/27]

In Ken Rosenthal’s November 10 column, he wrote about Jerry Dipoto’s attitude toward closers. To quote Rosenthal, quoting Dipoto, “Dipoto is not concerned with finding a pure closer, though he could trade for the Indians’ Chris Perez or sign Japanese free-agent Kyuji Fujikawa.” Madson is a true closer by any reasonable definition. He was one of the top ninth-inning men available last winter, though the market froze him out. Madson signed a one-year deal with the Reds before missing the season due to Tommy John surgery.

When Madson is healthy, his fastball-changeup combination makes him one of the better relievers in the game. The Angels are in a good position to gamble on Madson returning to health. They have options like Ernesto Frieri, Jordan Walden, and Scott Downs available should Madson falter. Otherwise, the Angels have a nice cabal of relief arms.

BOSTON RED SOX
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Signed OF-R Jonny Gomes to a two-year deal worth $10 million. [11/21]

When a reporter asked Gomes about protestors running onto the field last August, he shot back that he would clear the field himself. Adding, “There ain’t nothing secret about my service.” Indeed, Jonny; everyone knows about your raw strength and your ability to hit left-handed pitching.

Not everyone knows about Gomes’ career-high True Average last season. The outfielder owes Bob Melvin a nice steak dinner, as without his manager’s careful micromanaging (Gomes reached 200-plus plate appearances and faced more than 50 percent left-handers for the first time in his career) he may have settled for another one-year deal.  Instead, the eccentric Gomes is heading to Boston to take over for Cody Ross.  It’s unclear if John Farrell will take a similar approach, though Gomes’ moon-shot tendencies and the Green Monster should result in some gaudy power numbers regardless.

Farrell would also be wise to keep Gomes in left field as much as possible.  The occasional misplay of a carom will be tough to stomach, but the less ground assigned to Gomes the better. As an added bonus, Gomes is considered a positive clubhouse presence, known for his one-liners and his willingness to drink from Dioner Navarro’s protective cup. If that isn’t enough to earn the respect of your peers then what is?

CHICAGO CUBS
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Signed RHP Scott Feldman to a one-year deal worth $6 million with another $1 million in incentives. [11/27]

Ho hum, Jed Hoyer hands out another one-year deal to a veteran contributor. This one goes to Feldman, a tall, Amish-looking right-hander with starting and relieving experience. Feldman uses a four-pitch mix, relying heavily on his sinker and cutter, and mixing in curves and changeups. The best peripherals of his starting career allow room for optimism despite an ugly ERA last season:

Scott Feldman’s Numbers as a Starter

Season

SP IP

SO/9

SO/BB

2008

144.1

4.2

1.31

2009

183

5.3

1.75

2010

127.2

4.9

1.79

2012

110

7.0

3.04

If you need a reason for the improvement, it could be because of Feldman’s increased usage of his changeup. Whether that speaks to an increase in effectiveness or confidence (or an increased confidence because of its effectiveness) is unclear. Look for Feldman to take one of the back-end spots in the Cubs rotation. If all goes well, he should finish the year in someone else’s rotation. If all goes poorly, he’ll finish the year in a bullpen. 

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Sacramento
11/28
And the article's headline of "...the Angels sign Madson...?"
bornyank1
11/28
Madson section should be showing up now.
hotstatrat
11/28
What was the protest supposed to be about? Did it take place? The link was not very informative.
doctawojo
11/28
It was RNC-related.
NYYanks826
11/28
So now they have Garza and Samardzija up top, and then a Wood/Baker/Feldman trio at the back end. The Cubs' rotation might actually not be embarrassingly bad next year!
Danthicus
11/28
I don't see how 'Madson is a true closer by any reasonable definition', given that he's only closed for one season.
Lespaul1
12/02
Reasonable in that he has the shutdown stuff to close, and is viewed as "closer material" despite only having closed for one season.
onegameref
11/30
Any comments on the do-over between Rangers and Cubs that landed Loux with the Cubs? Is he a potential back of the rotation guy this year? Seems like a nice deal for the Cubs and gracious by the Rangers.