John Heyman had a tidbit about a reliever the Yanks may be targeting earlier this week:
So who is Mike Adams? A 32 year old, hard throwing reliever who got his start with the Milwaukee Brewers that has really found a home pitching for the San Diego Padres the past four seasons. Once I say “Padres”, I’m sure many readers will think “product of Petco” but his Home/Roads splits belie that notion. While he’s been off the charts at home, he’s been highly effective on the road as well. Simply put, he’s one of the best setup men in the game today.
What’s he like as a pitcher? He throws a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. He has good control (2.7 BB/9) misses loads of bats (career 9.39 K/9) and a reputation for pitching inside. His fastball/cutter/slider arsenal make him virtually the same whether he’s facing righty or lefty batters. Fangraphs shows his fastball is good, but the Cutter is clearly his best pitch. Manager Bud Black summed up what he brings earlier this year:
“He’s got the fastball inside. He’s got the cutter/slider inside. And he commands the outside of the plate (against right-handed and left-handed batters). The command is good, the stuff is good and the head’s good”
He’s 3rd in the NL for Holds, tied for 4th in MLB at his position in WAR. If not for Heath Bell, he’d probably be closing for the Padres right now. So why would the Padres deal him? Three reasons. Salary, age and health. He’s a 3rd year arb guy next year, with his stellar pitching and final year of team control he would be in line for a big raise over his 2.535 mil he made this year. He’s had a somewhat spotty health record, he missed the entire 2007 season after undergoing knee surgery 3 times (not uncommon, knees are tricky to fix). He had shoulder surgery in 2009, which caused him to miss the first two months of that year. Since then he’s had 15 day DL stints for a fatigued shoulder and a strained oblique. It’s debatable whether any of this has affected his stuff, he’s throwing the ball as well as he ever has in terms of velocity, though the movement on his pitches has shown signs of decline. At 32 years old that’s the type of thing that might inspire a small market team into selling while the value is still high. The Padres may prefer to deal Heath Bell and have Adams close for them, but Adams would fetch more than a high-priced (7.5 mil) rental in Bell. GM Jed Hoyer has always shown a willingness to to deal relievers for help elsewhere. The Padres are starved for offense and positional players that can hit. With an additional year of team control and 2 relatively healthy seasons under his belt, Adam’s trade value may never be higher going forward. From the Yankee perspective, even if the stuff has suffered a bit he should have plenty left in the tank for a year and a half commitment. Given the fact that the Padres are in no rush to deal him, he won’t come cheap.
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