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Royals sign Ryan Madson to minor league contract

The deal is a low-risk move, considering Madson hasn't pitched in the majors since 2011.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals announced that they have signed reliever Ryan Madson to a minor-league contract, as first reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The deal includes an invitation to major-league spring training.

Madson, 34, has not pitched since the 2011 season with the Phillies, despite being paid $8.5 million by the Reds in 2012 and $3.5 million by the Angels in 2013. After signing a one-year deal with Cincinnati prior to 2012, he underwent Tommy John surgery during spring training and has suffered setbacks on his road to recovery despite receiving interest from multiple clubs.

The move is a potentially low-risk, high-reward transaction for the Royals, who had one of the best bullpens in baseball last year due to the emergence of late-inning options Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Madson will likely compete for a spot during spring training, and is a good candidate to earn one if he is deemed healthy.

Madson spent nine seasons in Philadelphia before being replaced as the Phillies' closer by Jonathan Papelbon after the 2011 season. In that time, he was the owner of a 47-30 record and 3.59 ERA while notching 52 saves in 491 appearances.