Phillies acquire reliever Mike Adams, starter John Lannan

Mike Adams Associated Press
Mike Adams Associated Press
Posted: December 17, 2012

Until Saturday, it was an uncharacteristically quiet offseason for these Phillies, still smarting from their first postseason absence in six years. They finally spent money on the 42d day of free agency by reaching agreements with a setup man and fifth starter in the span of hours.

Mike Adams, one of the game's dominant late-inning relievers, agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with a vesting option for a third year, according to a source. The Phillies also signed John Lannan to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, according to CBSSports.com.

Both agreements are contingent on physical examinations, thus the Phillies had no comment.

Adams will assume the eighth-inning role no one could hold for the Phillies in 2012. Lannan may replace the departed Vance Worley at the back of the rotation and fits the description of a "low-risk, high-reward" starter that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he sought. Lannan can reportedly earn an additional $2.5 million in incentives.

One task - upgrading the corner outfield spots - remains this winter for Amaro.

If the payroll mirrors that of 2012, which Amaro has said he expects, the Phillies have roughly $7 million in 2013 salary to spend. That figure is contingent on the Phillies' staying under the $178 million luxury tax limit, a past priority. The Phillies could be amenable to surpassing that for one season because the threshold increases to $189 million in 2014.

First, Amaro added pitching depth. The Phillies craved stability in the eighth inning. They lost 12 games, the most in the majors, when holding a lead entering the eighth inning. Adams, provided he is healthy, could be that presence. The 34-year-old righty underwent October surgery to remove a rib that caused thoracic outlet syndrome, a numbing sensation in his arm.

He is expected to be ready for spring training.

The ailment affected him at the end of the season, when he surrendered three home runs in the span of five batters during his final appearance. He had permitted only one home run in his previous 522/3 innings.

Adams posted a 3.27 ERA with 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings with the Texas Rangers in 2012, his worst full season since 2004, his rookie year. But only Craig Kimbrel, Eric O'Flaherty, Sergio Romo, and Mariano Rivera have lower ERAs among relief pitchers since 2010. Adams (2.06 ERA) has thrown more innings than any of them during that span.

His declining fastball velocity is a red flag. It averaged 93.4 m.p.h. in 2010, 92.7 m.p.h. in 2011, and 91.3 m.p.h. in 2012, according to Pitch F/X data.

The third-year option vests under two conditions, according to ESPN.com. Adams must make 120 appearances from 2013 to 2014 and at least 60 in 2014. He has pitched in at least 61 games in each of the last three seasons.

Lannan, 28, probably will not be guaranteed the fifth starting job but is the decided favorite heading into spring training. Jonathan Pettibone and Tyler Cloyd will serve as his competition.

Twice an opening day starter in Washington only to be marginalized, Lannan made six starts in 2012 while spending most of the season at triple-A Syracuse. Rather than pay him a raise through arbitration from a $5 million salary in 2012, the Nationals did not tender him a contract.

He has a career ERA of 4.01 in six seasons. That number drops to 3.80 if his outings against the Phillies are removed. They crushed Lannan to the tune of a 5.53 ERA in 19 career starts. He has a 6.49 ERA in eight career starts at Citizens Bank Park.

His career numbers mirror that of a typical fifth starter, if not better. Lannan's fastball averages 88-89 m.p.h. and he relies on a change-up while also throwing a curveball and slider.

Lannan is perhaps best known among Phillies fans for breaking Chase Utley's hand with an errant pitch in his major-league debut five years ago. Eleven of his 30 career hit batters have been Phillies.

"I don't think he was trying to hit me," Utley said on July 26, 2007. "I think it kind of got away from him. He's a young guy. He hit two guys in a row, but I don't think he was throwing at us."

Now, the two are teammates as Amaro shaped the edges of his roster Saturday.


Fresh Arms

The Phillies checked two needs off their offseason list on Saturday when they signed starting pitcher John Lannan, formerly of the Nationals, and reliever Mike Adams, formerly of the Rangers. Here's a look at what they got:

John Lannan

The lefty was a regular in Washington's starting rotation from 2008 through 2011. His record during those years (36-49, .424 winning percentage) has to be attributed, at least in part, to playing for a bad team (267-379, .413 winning percentage in those four years). He did not figure into the Nationals' deep rotation last year - just six starts while spending most of the year in the minors - as they won the National League East.

Mike Adams

The bullpen righty has never started a game since his major-league career began with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2004. His career ERA is 2.28, which is impressive by any measurement, although it was 3.27 last year.

- Gary Potosky


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @magelb.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|