WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 16: Rick Ankiel #24 of the Washington Nationals reacts after striking out against the Florida Marlins at Nationals Park on September 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Following the Cincinnati Reds' signing of Ryan Madson, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer says the team should now move on to its next most important off-season need -- veteran outfielder. Fay suggests targets might include Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick, Juan Pierre, Kosuke Fukudome, and Cody Ross (which are all neat ways of saying you'd like the team to slightly overpay for slightly-better-than-replacement production).
Also, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com has a minor league invite update and Red Reporter exposes how signing Madson plays perfectly into their theory of the "Votto Window Strategy," which is both beautiful and damn smart:
Looking for an outfielder - John Fay | Cincinnati Enquirer
"With a closer in hand (at least unofficially), the Reds can move to the next item on their offseason list: A veteran outfielder. The free agent pickings are slim. You can make a strong argument that no one out there is an upgrade over Chris Heisey. But even if the Reds decide to go with Heisey as the starter in left, they need to add a veteran."
- More camp invites - Mark Sheldon
"The Reds have invited the following Minor Leaguers to Spring Training as non-roster players: RHP Nick Christiani, RHP Daniel Corcino, LHP Donnie Joseph and C Tucker Barhart."
- Vottonian Fenestration - The genius of Walt Jocketty - Red Reporter
"The trade targets he chased were the best available starting pitcher (Mat Latos) and the best available reliever (Sean Marshall). The big free agent acquisition he targeted - in what I think is one of the most brilliant tactical moves in recent baseball history - was the best closer on the market (Ryan Madson), and that after waiting for prices to fall to nearly absurd levels. We all knew that the pitching staff was the big weakness that kept the team around .500 last year. It now looks very formidable."
- Madson – updated figures - Mark Sheldon
"A source told MLB.com on Wednesday that Madson will get a one-year guaranteed contract that pays him $6 million in 2012 with an $11 million option for 2013 that carries a $2.5 million buyout. So that’s $8.5 million guaranteed. Some of the money will be spread out over four years."
Cincinnati Reds Agree To Sign Ryan Madson - MLB Daily Dish
In Cincinnati, he'll likely take over as the Reds' new closer. The team already has Nick Masset and the recently-acquired Sean Marshall to set up the rebuilt Cincinnati bullpen. Aroldis Chapman could also factor into things depending on how his apparent conversion to the starting rotation goes.