The Red Sox are among the teams scouting Ryan Madson, according to Ken Rosenthal, and could be looking to add another piece to an already stacked bullpen:
#RedSox among many teams that have scouted Ryan Madson recently. Last pitched in ’11. Had Tommy John surgery in ’12, various setbacks in ’13— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 12, 2013
Call him the Brian Wilson of '14. Madson has a long history of success in the league, dating back to his first full season in 2002. That does not included 2012 or 2013, however, which saw Madson pitch not one inning for the Reds or Angels--technically his teams of the last two seasons.
At his best, Madson is a closer-worthy reliever. He piles up strikeouts, keeps walks reasonable, and even induces ground balls for good measure. But a lot of that relies on a mid-90s fastball to keep hitters off his exceptional changeup, and there's no guarantee that he'll be able to do the same thing after missing two years to injury.
Beyond that, the question for the Red Sox is where would he go? Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, Edward Mujica, Andrew Miller, and Burke Badenhop seem to have six spots pretty much on lock in Boston's bullpen right now, with a seventh likely going to a starting pitcher as a long reliever/spot starter, barring a trade from the rotation. The Red Sox even have some good depth in Brandon Workman, Alex Wilson and the like down in Triple-A Pawtucket.
Madson would fit the bill of an opportunistic signing if nobody's clamoring to give the 33-year-old reclamation project a contract. But chances are there's someone with more need for a high-reward risk in the bullpen, and that team will be able to offer Madson a better chance to prove himself. It's kind of hard to see this one happening.