The Oakland Athletics continued their offseason retooling Sunday, agreeing to a three-year, $22 million contract with reliever Ryan Madson

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick and Andy McCulloch of the Kansas City Star reported the deal. Madson, 35, spent the 2015 season with the Kansas City Royals. He went 1-2 with a 2.13 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, combining with Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera to form the best setup trio in baseball.

The Royals went on to win their first World Series since 1985, thanks in large part to their shutdown bullpen, which posted five wins above replacement overall, per FanGraphs.

Madson’s 2015 season was particularly remarkable, given his tribulations over the previous three years. After spending his first eight seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Madson left the club after the 2011 season but never threw another pitch before arriving in Kansas City.

He suffered a torn elbow ligament in 2012 that cost him most of the next two seasons, and he sat out 2014 after failing to receive interest from teams in free agency.

 Madson discussed his comeback with the Associated Press in September (via the Spokesman-Review):

I thought I would bounce right back. I did everything everybody wanted me to do. I did everything under the sun trying to get back, and it took me getting released for the first time in my career, not being in the major leagues since being called up in 2003, to really feel that punch. And it knocked me down. It almost knocked me out.

The A’s will likely look for Madson to return to a setup role with Sean Doolittle getting the first crack at closing. Oakland had one of baseball’s worst bullpens in 2015, finishing 27th in wins above replacement. The team traded closer Tyler Clippard to the New York Mets at the deadline, leaving them with only one regular bullpen option (Fernando Rodriguez) with an ERA below four.

Adding Madson should provide the A’s with some stability as they rebound from a disappointing 68-94 record in 2015. The A’s have already reacquired Jed Lowrie and signed pitcher Rich Hill as they try to find low-cost options that fit within their payroll. Still, Gabe Lacques of USA Today made an interesting observation:

Madson, assuming he stays healthy, is obviously the biggest acquisition so far. Giving him three years is a bit of a risk, but if he performs at the same level he did in 2015, Oakland’s bullpen likely won’t be as much of a glaring weakness.


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

All advanced stats via FanGraphs.

Read more MLB news on