OAKLAND -- The A's are showing interest in free-agent reliever Ryan Madson, and they're said to be "square in the mix" for the right-hander's services, MLB.com has learned through a source.
That same source deemed the A's "a legitimate suitor," while another confirmed the club's level of interest in Madson is significant. Madson is believed to be in the market for a multi-year deal after enjoying a tremendous turnaround with the World Series-champion Royals last season.
The A's, treading through a thin relief market, are attempting to revamp a bullpen that took 31 losses in 2015 and finished with the highest ERA (4.56) in the American League. They've already added one setup man to the mix in right-hander Liam Hendriks through a trade with Toronto, but they are not shying away from reeling in another reliever, and general manager David Forst has stated that payroll won't be a deterrent in doing so.
Having Madson on hand as a second closer option next to lefty Sean Doolittle would likely be appealing to Madson. The Southern California resident's proximity to both the Bay Area and Spring Training in Arizona could also be an attractive factor when making his decision.
Madson, 35, is expected to have multiple offers to sort through, though, after a season in which he compiled a 2.13 ERA with a strikeout rate of 8.2 per nine innings. He recorded a 0.96 WHIP, and opponents hit just .205 off him across 63 1/3 innings.
The hard-throwing righty missed each of the previous three seasons with injuries after a dominant year as the Phillies' closer in 2011, when he tallied 32 saves with a 2.37 ERA.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.