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Deal between Madson, Phillies awaits approval from Montgomery

Free agent closer Ryan Madson and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro verbally agreed on the terms of a four-year, $44 million deal, sources say, but a formalized contract has been awaiting the approval of Phillies general partner David Montgomery for well more than a day now.

After Amaro and Madson's agent, Scott Boras, agreed verbally sometime Monday on those terms plus a vesting option, Amaro told Boras that he needed to get Montgomery's approval for the deal, sources said. Amaro informed Boras the following day that he had as of yet been unable to acquire Montgomery's approval.

Madson and Amaro are believed to be interested in finalizing the deal, but it isn't known whether the deal could possibly be in some jeopardy at this point. Madson himself signed off on the deal already, so it would be highly unusual if it were to fall through now.

While the sides agreed, it isn't technically binding until there is a written document.

Boras and Amaro negotiated for several days, but sources indicate the issue of Amaro needing approval only arose after Madson and Boras had agreed to the terms.

The Phillies are said by sources to have targeted Madson as the closer they most wanted after he emerged this past season in that role after serving as a successful setup man in previous seasons, finishing with 32 saves and a 2.37 ERA. Sources familiar with their negotiations say the Phillies did have talks as recently as Monday with another star free agent closer, Jonathan Papelbon, who would presumably garner a similar contract, if not more. A third free-agent closer, Heath Bell, a somewhat cheaper option as he is a few years older than the other two pitchers, is yet another free-agent closer who's interested the Phillies.

Madson, meanwhile, has also drawn interest from the Red Sox, Nationals and Rangers.

The likelihood remains that the Phillies will conclude their deal with Madson. But the holdup has added a bit of intrigue, however temporary it may be.

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