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Reds signing of Madson is shot over Cardinals bow

There are major moves afoot in bullpens in the National League Central.

The Reds have announced that they signed former Philadelphia closer Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million contract. Meanwhile, Kerry wood was rumored to be talking to Cincinnati about a bullpen role, seems to have been pushed back toward taking a one-year deal to suffer through the rebuilding process in Chicago.

Madson is a nice add for the Cubs, no doubt about it. But I don't know if he is a real game changer as far as the pennant race goes. $8.5 million is a big chunk of change for a closer on a small market team -- although his deal is much more favorable than the one that just expired for Francisco Cordero. While it makes the Reds better, I feel that the money might have been better invested in a big bat or a starting pitcher.

It's interesting that the Reds jumped on Madson, however, because it is basically a declaration that Cincy isn't willing to concede anything to the defending World Series champs. A one-year deal for a closer means nothing more than "we are trying to go for it all this season."

And it makes sense as the Reds have to come to terms with the fact that Joey Votto might soon go the way of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.