Phils Should Pursue Mike Adams For Real This Time

Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, August 09, 2012 03:02 PM | Comments: 37

The Phillies’ bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster in 2012.

Just look at these numbers:

MLB Rank
19 27th
Blown Saves
Blown Ties

Groundball %


HR per 9 IP

The unit is better with the addition of Josh Lindblom, but the ‘pen still lacks a true eighth-inning reliever or a specialist from either side.

Hopes were high for Antonio Bastardo, but the pitcher we saw for the first five months of 2011 is gone, probably never to return. Bastardo since Sept. 1, 2011 has a 6.39 ERA, a 1.51 WHIP and 28 walks in 43.2 innings. He can’t throw strike one… he’s done it to just 83 of the 158 batters he’s faced this year.

What is the Phillies’ answer here? Do they sign a reliever or two this winter? Do they stick with the young guns?

Solving bullpen problems isn’t easy. Teams throw money around every winter at relievers coming off good and sometimes lucky seasons. Other clubs hope their homegrown parts develop. The Phillies took both approaches this season, paying a ton of money to one man (Jonathan Papelbon) and keeping the rest of the pen inexpensive with youngsters.

It hasn’t worked.

A free agent after the season, Mike Adams from 2009-11 had a 1.42 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP.

Look at all the games given away by early-year setup men Chad Qualls and Bastardo. Now imagine if that role was occupied by Ryan Madson or Mike Adams.

Both are free agents this winter. Madson is recovering from Tommy John surgery that will prevent him from making a single appearance this season for the Reds. Adams hasn’t been completely untouchable in Texas as he was in San Diego, but he still has a 2.97 ERA and decent strikeout and walk numbers.

The Phillies have money to spend this off-season, thanks to the deadline trade of Hunter Pence. They can afford to give Adams a three-year deal in the $18-21 million range, and that just might be the best option.

Before the new-wavy baseball community jumps down my throat for the mere suggestion that actual money should be spent on an actual reliever, consider the following points…

An 8th-9th inning combination of Adams and Papelbon would instantly be one of three-best back ends of a bullpen in either league. Adams from 2009-11 had a 1.42 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP and 192 strikeouts to 45 walks in 177.2 innings.

If you sign Adams to that type of deal, you’d have $19-20 million committed to two relievers, but you wouldn’t need to spend money anywhere else in the ‘pen. You could move forward with Papelbon and Adams, then piece together the rest of the relief corps with Lindblom, Bastardo and choices from the Diekman-De Fratus-Schwimer-Stutes-Herndon group. Sign a lefty specialist for about $1 million and you’re set.

Yes, Adams is 34 years old. But he’s a relief pitcher. These guys age differently. The best years of Darren Oliver’s career came in his age 36-40 seasons. And Adams has significantly less wear-and-tear than most elite relievers – he made only 61 major-league appearances before turning 29.

You also have to look at this winter’s free-agent class. You can spend money on an upgrade in center field, but there is practically nothing to choose from at third base and nothing worth splurging on in a corner outfield position. Considering that the only real way to upgrade third base is through a trade, would you complain if the Phillies’ two biggest signings this winter were Michael Bourn and Adams?

As far as interest goes, we know the Phillies have wanted Adams in the past. They pursued him at the 2011 trade deadline before unloading four prospects for Pence.

After what we’ve seen this season, you simply cannot overlook the need to vastly improve this bullpen. And Ruben Amaro has to be proactive… you can’t waste another year with this core hoping that young, unproven relievers pitch well. Ordinarily, I would never condone spending $19-20 million on two relievers. But the Papelbon hole has already been dug, and the Phils still need more help.

If you don’t want to commit that much money to Adams, there’s still Madson. He’ll have to take a lesser deal coming off Tommy John surgery and is really in no position to demand a closing job. The problem is that the Phillies have bad blood with Madson’s camp, most notably Scott Boras, after their reported handshake agreement for a four-year, $44 million contract fell through last winter. Unless the Phillies’ offer far exceeds what he can find anywhere else, it’s hard to imagine a scorned Madson coming back.

The top of the Phillies’ roster is still excellent, and it puts them in position to compete in 2013 if certain holes are filled and bad luck turns back to middling or good luck.

But the market dictates which holes can be filled, and Amaro won’t be able to solve every problem this off-season.

You can solve center field and the bullpen, so those should be the two priorities. And if you’re going to bring in outside help, you might as well pay for the best option.

I’d commit that money to Mike Adams to hold all the leads the Phillies lost this year in the eighth inning. Would you?

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    I would complain if they were our two big acquisitions. I didn’t wanna spend a ton of money on Papelbon let alone big money on a set up man. I realize that the bullpen is a problem. I would suggest that, rather than spend money like that, lets see what we can get out of the group of DeFratus, Stutes, Liindbloom, Cloyd, Kendrick, Horst, Diekman and some other guys with high ceilings coming off injuries that we can sign. 6m for Adams? No way.

    I’ll take Youk and Headley. Headley goes to LF. Dom to CF and Mayberry and Schireholtz can platoon in RF. Utley, Youk, Headley, Dom. Think of all that OBP.

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

      Avatar of Corey Seidman

      That’s exactly what the Phillies can’t afford to do… take their chances AGAIN during a crucial year of Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Howard-Utley that these young relievers pan out.

      I don’t see any way that happens. Phillies would be foolish to let it happen. Spending money on the bullpen isn’t “in.” But there’s no point in having $13 million per year committed to a closer if you’re going to accept mediocrity or much worse from the rest of the unit.

      • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

        Avatar of Corey Seidman

        Just one opinion, of course.

        As far as that other scenario, everyone I’ve talked to who follows the Padres has said Headley’s outfield defense is terrible. He hasn’t even played LF since 2009.

    • Posts: 1006 betasigmadeltashag

      Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

      I do not know what the love affair you are haveing with Yuk is about but isn’t he like 40and couldnt hit until he got out of Boston. If you can get Headly on a good trade value, put him at third, Brown, and if Bourne can be gotten for 12 million a year put him in center with JMJ/Scherholtz in RF or LF with Brown in right. JRoll, Bourne,Chase,Howard, Chooch, Headly Brown, ? pitcher. would not be a bad line up IMO

  • Posts: 1006 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    I posted this on another thread, and admitadly I still like Bastardo, maybe cause there is a real nice red wine with that name. But Really you going to write him off on a bad year, he still has good stuff, and has gotten a little better throwing strikes on the corners, and his slider is still nasty. And even last night he got squeezed a little on a 1-2 pitch that had been a strike all night. Now that is not an excuss to walk the next guy up, but I would not write him off. Maybe not your every day 8th inning guy, but he is still going to be a good releiver. If you name is not Mariano, and you pitch out of the pen your whole career you have bad streaks and some last longer then others. But they can work with him in the winter and get his confidence back. He has had some real good outings, will he be the under 1 era guy he was for 6 months last year maybe not, but he will be better then he showed this year

    • Posts: 0 BirmCori

      I am SO going to write off Bastardo. I NEVER want to see him lose us another game again. It’s not just one year. He hasn’t had his stuff since last year. He lost his confidence and if it’s not back by now, after HOW many chances Charlie’s given him? It’s not coming back. I am all OVER Madson coming back. It’s baseball and players know it’s a business. He hasn’t played to demand a huge deal and I think he’d come back to be a set-up guy. At this point, I’m ready to send my cat in to pitch – even HE’S a better pitcher than Bastardo and he doesn’t have thumbs!

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

    I don’t get the minimal “wear and tear” angle with Adams. Why don’t the 178 minor league appearances by Adams before age 29 contribute to wear and tear?

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Corey….I should have refined my point. Try all those guys – come out of spring training – and THEN make the deal if you need too if your bullpen doesn’t pan out. Bullpens are flighty. I don’t really relish the though of spending all that money in the back of the pen.

    You know more about Headley’s OF skills than me. If he can’t play OF then don’t play him there. I like his offensive game. Maybe 3rd. Bourn and Headley? Anyone?

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

    The Phillies should really stay away from Bourn. I wouldn’t mind RAJ jumping in to the process to drive up the price for ANOTHER team to sign him though. The upcoming Bourn deal will be just as bad as the Werth and Crawford deals.

    • Posts: 0 George

      I can really agree here, but I have a horrible nagging fear that Phils management won’t.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

  • Posts: 0 George

    I think Lindblom was gotten to fill the set-up role. (Personally, I don’t think he can, because he’s a fly ball pitcher. But management might have a different idea.)

    I also wouldn’t give up on Bastardo yet.

    I don’t see the need for a $1million lefty specialist, either. So many of the Phils’ relief arms are left-handed to begin with, and I’m sure one of them could fill that role.

    I really don’t think the bullpen is as big an issue as people think, and I believe that with the exception of last night’s mess (which was really just the fault of two pitchers, the two most experienced ones in the ‘pen besides Papelbon) they have been showing some good signs lately.

    Center field will probably cost a ton, and I just can’t see spending so much money on one relief pitcher unless he’s a closer, which the Phils already have.

  • Posts: 0 George

    One other thing to note:

    If I’m not mistaken, those BP figures are based on the entire year. Chad Qualls didn’t exactly help any of those numbers, particularly the HR rate. Brian Sanchez was another guy who didn’t help, and he’s no longer around, either. I believe his ERA was somewhere above 8.00.

    The bullpen is lousy, for sure, but not quite as lousy as those numbers.

    I’d like to see what the CURRENT pen has been doing, the pen without those two dogs, and the one since Dubee reworked Schwimer’s mechanics.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    It is hard to blame the bullpen when the starters have had so many problems this year. The starting pitching has been the biggest issue for most of the year.

    Hamels 2.79 in 2011 3.14 this year
    Halladay 2.35 in 2011 4.02 this year
    Lee 2.40 in 2011 3.78 this year
    Worley 3.01 in 2011 3.83 this year

    I won’t go on but you can see with those 2011 numbers Amaro was counting on the bullpen not being that important other than a closer. Total team ERA is more than a run higher than last year. If the starters do not improve the bullpen makes no difference. If they do improve then it is not that important anyway.

    Interestingly despite all the issues with the stars the OPS in 2011 was .717 and this year it is .716.

    So Amaro has it right – pitching, pitching, pitching.

    He has double-downed on Hamels. Let’s see him get one more offensive player and then we can talk about the bullpen.

    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      Very nicely put, Bob.

    • Posts: 0 Dave P

      Hamels has still been great. Complaining about a 3.14 ERA is like complaining that your filet mignon doesn’t taste as good as it did yesterday.

      Halladay and Lee have been disappointments. Not awful, but not dominant aces. Worley has had a tough year and with his last start, you can see it – his elbow has to be bothering the SHIT out of him. The pitch that he threw a lot last year – that pitch with late movement that got so many hitters looking – hasn’t been really thrown this year. I wonder if his elbow bothers him to much to throw that.

      I agree on your big point, though – this team is built to win with pitching.

  • Posts: 0 Dave Lerch

    Yes, the bullpen needs to be a priority in the off season,but, this team has so many problem areas that solidifying the bullpen won’t be nearly enough to get the team back in title contention. This is going to be painful going forward. I don’t see a turn around for this team for years to come.

  • Posts: 0 Luna-tic

    “An 8th-9th inning combination of Adams and Papelbon would instantly be one of three-best back ends of a bullpen in either league.”

    Correct. If your calendar says 2010 or 2011.

    In 2013, there’s no way Adams-Papelbon is a top three 8th/9th Inning duo.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Maybe we could get both Adams and Madson. Madson should not command a fortune, and Adams is solid indeed. Both would be strong. And, don’t forget we have Horst and Diekman.
    IF that ain’t a huge “WOW”, then what is?

  • Posts: 0 leo

    and why not go for Alfredo Aceves he is going to free agency and he was one of the top reliever with the yankees and the red sox he is not worth a ton but he is great in the mount. also, he could a good fifth starter because right now the Phillies don’t have a good fifth starter

  • Posts: 5281 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    3 years, 18-21m- to a 34 year old reliever. Please Corey, no.

    It is time to begin managing this ball club in a fiscally responsible manner. How many other FA relievers got multi-year big money deals last off season after Papelbon and Bell? There is a reason the market dried up and Madson couldn’t get a better deal.

    It’s okay to make a few mistakes with ballplayers contracts, every GM does. A few, but please, stop the insanity, the Phils can be competitive without being the league leader in financial blunders.

  • Posts: 0 DavidE

    I don’t know about these free agent acquisitions. Mike Adams will be 35 next year. How long of a contract do you want to sign him for? His decline this year relative to last year is to be expected. Every time that you buy a player over 28 years old, it has to be expected that his performance will decline.

    What are the alternatives to the free agent market? What about Justin DeFraitus? What about Michael Stutes and David Herndon? What about Michael Schwimmer and Jeremy Horst? Schwimmer has been very sharp lately. Any of those players or Bastardo could turn into the 8th inning guy. I wouldn’t say that the Phillies are just one player away. Let’s give the farm system a chance in this regard because there are some prospects. I would even say that I consider Diekman and Savery prospects in the bullpen.

    The Phillies are in desperate need of a third baseman. They really have nobody in the system who could really help there unless Chooch can be switched to third base and Kratz cna continue his unbelievable performance (highly unlikely) at catcher.

    I would try Ruf in left field this year. He has proven he can hit in the minors.

  • Posts: 0 Psujoe

    Definatly need a setup man, but not sure if the duration of 3 years is ideal.

  • Posts: 0 johnson

    Mathieson is dealing in Japan, set a record 100mph. was taught a cb and cutter
    Bring him back and see what he has, Madson would be too risky

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Its some type of a shell game.

    These arent the droids you are looking for.

    Your problems are your core of your line up.

    Blaming the middle relievers and part time players and 4th and 5th starters is great.
    Wheeler and Mccarthy excel at it too.

    The problem is your core. Its who you are.
    Its Ruben and Charlie and Howard and Rollins.

    But these arent the droids you are looking for.

    Blanton is gone and KK is relegated to the pen.
    Moyer is back on the farm.

    And keep thinking your core is the best and you tweak the others.
    Sorry I am not buying.
    Sell crazy someplace else.

  • Posts: 3020 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Some hot button issues and my thoughts:

    1) Adams at 3/21? No. Too much for a set-up man when you already have Paps’ deal on the books. We gotta figure that the current crop of relievers will be better than this season. Bullpens ebb and flow and this one will do the same.

    2)Go after Madson. He’ll come back here. Why not? We really don’t know what went down last off-season and I have a hard time believing that a bridge was burned completely down to the ground. He could be the missing piece we need and he won’t cost a lot.

    3)Youk. I’d try to get him for maybe one year/ 12-13M. Or 2/22 or something like that. But that’s it. No 3 year guaranteed year deal. And use him right. He’s not a 150-160 game player anymore. Rest him some and play him 120-130 games. Take him out after 3 at-bats if the Phils have the lead and put in a defensive replacement. His RH bat could be awesome and is sorely needed in this lineup

    4)Bourn. The more I think about it I am against a 5 year/75M deal for this guy. I just think it will come back to bite us in the end. Instead go after Vic and sign him to a very team friendly 2/16 or 3/21 M deal. I would think he would come back in a heartbeat. He loves it here. If not Vic then BJ Upton would be my next choice.

  • Posts: 0 Dave

    What do you guys think about trying to get Josh Hamilton for the outfield and then putting Galvis at 3rd base? Hamilton’s offense would help offset the power you lose at 3rd. The Phillies have to do something with Galvis. Not saying it’s the best option, but is it worth considering?

    • Posts: 0 George

      Josh Hamilton could be a very expensive mistake. He’s getting older, he’s injury prone, and his numbers have fallen off a lot since earlier in the year.

      Galvis, to me, is still a question mark due to his fractured back. He could probably play 3rd if he’s ever 100%, but he’s still no sure thing health-wise or bat-wise.

      • Posts: 0 Dave

        George…speaking of which….have you heard anything about Galvis? I know he got suspended, but will he be back this year and able to play some games? I tried Googling him but I got nothing as far as an update. I just want Martinez off this team and I want to see if Galvis back is healed.

      • Posts: 0 George

        The last I heard about Galvis was that he’d be wearing a back brace for possibly six weeks or more. After that, he’d have to do a lot of physical therapy.

        Having researched the type of fracture he suffered (and not just on that worthless “WebMD”), I think it’s a safe bet to say he won’t be back in 2012. I also saw a claim that the injury could end his career, but that seemed to be speculation by a non-expert, not a doctor.

        It’s a serious injury, though, and I hope he doesn’t try to rush back.

    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland


      First, what you said…

      “Go after Madson. He’ll come back here. Why not? We really don’t know what went down last off-season and I have a hard time believing that a bridge was burned completely down to the ground. He could be the missing piece we need and he won’t cost a lot.”

      Now what you didn’t say…

      Although some to many people might be under this impression that I’m thinking is common….
      while it’s true that the Madsons have a gorgeous home in the Delaware Valley (or did, though I can’t imagine selling that sucker), and there may appeal to come “home” another POSSIBLE factor in Madson’s decision might be this. The Reds got screwed big time, however unlucky it was, and there might be a sense of call it guilt or whatever to give them a serious shot at his services. They still seem to think of Aroldis long term as a starter, so they might well need a closer again soon. I expect Madson to be a late signee and try to throw for teams before he signs. So he might still have a shot at a closing job.

      cc:Charles Marbles

      All I’m saying is there may be more of an obstacle to Ryan signing with the Phils than just this image of bad blood that may exsist. There’s a possible example of why.

  • Posts: 0 smitty

    The sad truth is that relief pitchers are a function of luck. What is even more sickening is this : Phils give up on Grilli and Durbin who are having fabulous years. Fail to sign the oft traded/free agent Ayala (now with Orioles) who has been excellent. Or how about some of the other retreads who have revitalized their careers (Myers) ? All are improvements over any pitcher in the current bullpen – but it is just plain sheer serendipity. Whether its Adams, Balfour, or some other well travelled currently good reliever – there are no sure things other than the guy in New York wearing #42.

    • Posts: 0 George

      You can’t say it’s serendipity and then be sickened because the Phils didn’t sign/keep all those other guys. By your logic Durbin, et al, could just as easily have sucked as much or more than Qualls, and it’s only luck that they’ve supposedly “revitalized” their careers.

  • Posts: 0 betasigmadeltashag

    I think that is the point he is making, he was not saying you should have keep those guys, he is saying you never know what may happen, and who knows maybe the change of scenary had something to do with them coming back to pitch well. You never know that is why I think you do not spend a ton of money on middle relievers. Look at Bastardo and Stutes at the start of last year, can they come back after injury and a bad season, maybe maybe not but I think you roll the dice with cheap alternatives, and come July you make moves. I really think that if the Phillies had a healthy Utley Howard Doc and Worley, they could have withstood the shotty pen in the begining of the year. So you take a chance on the guys who you have brought up through the system and then roll the dice again if you have to in mid season

    • Posts: 0 George

      My point is that you shouldn’t be sickened because it’s all luck, and you have to just live with it. I didn’t really think he was advocating that the Phils should have kept those guys. Good or bad, you just can’t focus on those you let go, nor allow yourself to be disgusted about it.

      What sickens me is signing players who are obviously on a downward slide. That’s not serendipity, it’s stupidity. If you read any of my earlier comments, you would know that I’d prefer not going after relief, because I think there’s some budding talent already in place. An Adams signing could too easily turn out to be stupidity, especially at the price he’ll be asking.

      • Posts: 0 smitty

        George, you misunderstood my original post. My point. Relievers are serendipitous. This team had Grilli, the great, had Durbin who pitches every day and saves the Braves bullpen from pitching 700 innings; had Myers who has turned into Mr. 8th inning or 9th inning whoever he happens to be with; the fact is this is all entirely unpredictable. So…..it leads one to think it is better to sign Ayala (a broken down old Met for 1mm) and have him pitch to a 2.30 ERA etc. rather than pay Balfour, 7 mm to pitch the 7th inning. It is too serendipitous to even begin to predict. Just because Bastardo has tthe top sabermetric nos. last year means nothing ?????He is a chump this year. My point is – this is totally unpredictable – AND ADAMS IS NOT WORTH WHATEVER ANYBODY WOULD PAY HIM ABOVE 3MM A YEAR – if even that ! It is all just luck – other than Mario Rivera – and even the greatest get injured, don’t they ?

  • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

    My vote is nay. Too much of a risk on a couple levels: age and money. Let’s concentrate on plugging up that hot corner. Plus, this team needs to get younger not older.

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