It is a tough go for relievers in this day and age. Well, a tough go in terms of coverage for non-closer relievers who sign contracts in the middle of December while the recently-elected Cy Young winner is being traded. When your name is as nondescript as proud member of the Two First Names club Mike Adams and you agree to a two-year deal worth $12 Million with the Phillies to set-up for Jonathan Papelbon, getting overlooked is to be expected.
Which is a shame, as Mike Adams deserves our full attention. Mike Adams is one of the finest relievers in baseball and he just addressed a serious area of need for the Phillies.
It isn’t just a nationwide bias against relievers who don’t get into the ninth inning limelight that takes some shine away from the Phils acquisition of Adams. Mike Adams is coming off the worst season of his career, where his strikeout rate plummeted and his runs allowed jumped more than 2 runs.
While Adams is 34-years old, his 2012 decline might well be chalked up to a shoulder condition which required surgery in the off-season. Adams suffered from thoracic outlet syndrome and required a similar procedure to Chris Carpenter, as Bill Baer outlines at Crashburn Alley.
Provided a full recovery and rehab from his shoulder operation, Mike Adams provides the Phils with a lockdown presence in the eighth inning. Even his 2012 season was going swimmingly until a rocky September derailed his final numbers. Adams boasted a +38 strikeout to walk differential in 45 innings pitched with just a single home run allowed before he blew up in September, one of many Rangers to tank down the stretch.
The Phillies bullpen was incredibly thin beyond the detestably great Papelbon in 2012. Antonio Bastardo is a great lefty who put up strong numbers in 2011 but regressed in 2012 has his strand rate, BABIP, and home run rate came back towards his career numbers and talent level dictates. Jake Diekman and Phillippe Aumont gave the Phillies strong innings in a lost season but both are young players with lingering questions about their ability to throw strikes at the big league level.
Health questions aside, this is a terrific signing for a team unwilling to turn its back on contention. The Phillies haven’t made a lot of sexy moves this offseason but adding players in attempt to resume their NL East dominance with specific areas of need in mind might just work out for them. The most dominant rotation in baseball needs only a little help – a little luck and a lot of health might just get the Phillies back into the post-season one more time before the entire aging enterprise collapses into dust.