After the 2012 season, Mike Adams signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies worth $12 million, with a vesting option for the 2015 season. He has pitched 42 innings since signing that contract. Injuries haven’t allowed Adams to see the mound as much as the Phillies expected, and he will become a free agent this offseason.
Adams was a premier setup man prior to his contract with the Phillies. He recorded 97 holds over a three-year period from 2010-12. With 17 innings this season, he has recovered from his injury and will return to the bullpen. Although I believe Ken Giles will keep his setup role despite Adams’ return, Adams will likely pitch in non-pressure situations for the rest of this season.
The Phillies should learn from this contract they gave Adams. Teams should use younger relievers in their bullpen to maximize their league minimum salary. Youthful closers have been dominant in the past few seasons, and teams should put more of an emphasis on the age of these pitchers. The Jonathan Papelbon’s of MLB are few and far between. The Phillies messed up by giving a setup man $6 million a season to pitch as many games as the closer.
Ruben Amaro Jr. should take this as a learning experience. Signing a 34-year-old setup man at the time of the acquisition should never receive that type of money, especially for two years. Maybe he will not be making that decision since his job is certainly in jeopardy.