In 2011, the Phillies had a great setup man in Antonio Bastardo, but didn’t have a viable closer.
This year, they had heavily-touted Jonathan Papelbon, but due to Bastardo’s struggles and the club’s inability to find a good long-term solution, they didn’t have a consistent 8th inning guy.
The final-innings formula could finally be locked up.
With the two year, $12 million contract for Mike Adams (three years, $18 million including the vesting option), the Phillies appear to have found the solution to this year’s eighth-inning woes.
The Phillies have tried to trade for him before, and many fans have clamored for someone of his caliber. Now, when there are very few alternative options, the club has found a way to lock him up.
Adams’ diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome (a rib bone presses against a nerve, leading to pain as well as numbness in the arm) and the resultant surgery this October may have been a deterrent to other interested teams.
The surgery, which includes removing a rib to relieve pressure, was reportedly successful, and the expectation is for Adams to be ready for Spring Training.
As somewhat of an aside on this type of surgery, PubMed Health (link above) notes that surgery can be expected to be successful in 50% to 80% of patients, and about 5% of patients have recurring symptoms after surgery. This will be something to watch for.
Where does this put the bullpen? Obviously, Papelbon and Adams are in. After that, it could be a free-for-all, but here’s the rest of the depth chart as listed on the Phillies’ site:
- Antonio Bastardo
- Phillippe Aumont
- Jeremy Horst
- Justin De Fratus
- Raul Valdes
- Michael Stutes
- B.J. Rosenberg
- Jake Diekman
With the addition of John Lannan, the Phillies will have 5 starters. By my estimate, having those seven pitchers should leave five remaining spots in the ‘pen. At least three of those guys will not start the year in the majors.
We’re waiting on a few things here – to name a few, how Stutes comes back after recovering from shoulder surgery and if Bastardo can settle in and be the lefty specialist the Phils likely want him to be.
At this point, the Opening Day bullpen is anyone’s guess. We’ll have to wait for Spring Training to iron out some of these questions.