OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Athletics filled a key need a day before the start of baseball's winter meetings, agreeing to a $22 million, three-year contract with free-agent reliever Ryan Madson, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said.
The person spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because a physical was still needed to finalize the deal. In Madson, the club has found another proven pitcher for a bullpen that had an American League-worst 4.63 ERA last season for a team that lost 35 one-run games - and the veteran gets to play in his home state of California.
''Arms are still a priority for us,'' A's general manager David Forst said this past week ahead of the winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee. ''There are some other conversations that have unfolded. ... There's going to be plenty of conversation unfolding over the next 10 days as we get into Nashville.''
Madson went 1-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 68 outings and 63 1-3 innings for the World Series champion Kansas City Royals this past season. This year marked his first in the American League following nine seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The 35-year-old right-hander fills a big need in Oakland's bullpen, which dealt with key injuries last season, including to closer Sean Doolittle. In a Wednesday trade with San Diego, the A's acquired reliever Marc Rzepczynski, who later that night agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
Rzepczynski began the 2015 season with Cleveland and was 2-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 45 games when he was traded to San Diego on July 31. He compiled a 7.36 ERA in 27 games with the Padres and combined for a 5.66 ERA in 72 games overall.
Oakland was last in the AL West at 68-94, and the bullpen ranked 28th overall ahead of Atlanta and Colorado.
Last month, the A's - who missed the playoffs after three straight appearances - signed left-hander Rich Hill to a $6 million, one-year deal to boost the rotation behind ace Sonny Gray.