Ruben Amaro Jr., apparently weary of the continual inaction by Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., signed two pitchers on Saturday morning in the span of about two hours.
Ruben Amaro Jr. apparently heard the shouts from longtime Phillies fans like Ruben Amaro Jr. to begin improving this baseball team. He evidently heard the cries of worry from himself and others that, as the rest of Major League Baseball was improving their roster, the Phils were content to let other teams overpay for middling talent or players with checkered pasts.
Ruben Amaro Jr. has been very disappointed in Ruben Amaro Jr.’s off-season so far. So, Ruben Amaro Jr.’s actions on Saturday should make Ruben Amaro Jr. very happy indeed.
The Phillies agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with reliever Mike Adams, with a vesting third-year option. Adams will fill the set-up role for the Phils, a sore spot for a team that lost 12 games when entering the eighth inning with a lead last year. The deal is pending a physical.
The Phillies also signed former Nationals starter John Lannan to a one-year deal with a reported $2.5 million. Lannan pitched most of last year in AAA Syracuse as the Nats held onto him for pitching depth for the eventual Stephen Strasburg shut down.
After both moves, the Phils will have about $10-12 million left to spend on their most pressing need, a corner outfielder with pop.
That sound you hear is Cody Ross packing his car for Philadelphia.
Despite any protestations you may see on Twitter today, both signings are solid moves for the Phillies. In Adams, the Phils get one of the premier set-up men in baseball.
As with every free agent on the market, there are some drawbacks and concerns. Adams’ fastball velocity has dropped in each of the last three years, from 93.4 m.p.h. in 2010, to 92.7 m.p.h. in 2011 and 91.3 m.p.h. in 2012, according to Pitch F/X data (and courtesy of Matt Gelb of the Inquirer). Adams also missed the final week of the season last year with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a numbing sensation in his fingers.
And, Adams did post the highest ERA of his career last year at 3.27. However, over the course of the last three years, there have been few better late-inning relievers, with his 2.06 ERA only trailing Craig Kimbrel, Eric O’Flaherty, Sergio Romo and Mariano Rivera since 2010 (again, stats “borrowed” from Gelb).
As for Lannan, the Phils needed a number five starter for the back of the rotation after trading Vance Worley, and got one.
Lannan’s career numbers aren’t that great (42-52, 4.01 ERA, 1.424 WHIP), but are skewed by his numbers against the Phillies, against whom he’s had a dreadful lack of success…
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 15, 2012
People upset with the Lannan signing should ask themselves this question… who else is out there? Who did you want?
If the Phils are going to get a difference-making corner outfielder, there isn’t a lot of money in the budget for another starter.
The Phils already have three “aces” at the top of the rotation (assuming Roy Halladay returns to normal… an admittedly big IF), and Kendrick as the number four will earn $4.5 million.
The Phillies needed a cheap solution for the final spot in the rotation, and they got one. I know people are still upset with Lannan for breaking Chase Utley’s arm with a pitch back in July of 2007, but everyone’s going to have to get over that.
Lannan has been a decent pitcher against every team not named the Phillies, is still young (only 28), and is only on a one-year commitment.
Yes, his control is an issue and there will be starts where he gets shelled, but for a cheap, one-year rental, you could do a whole lot worse than John Lannan.
So now, the world waits for Amaro to meet his biggest challenge. The world waits for Amaro to find a corner outfielder who can hit a baseball over the fence with some degree of regularity. And he has to find one that won’t require him to overpay, trade away more young talent, or relinquish the highly-valued #16 overall pick in the draft this year.
Amaro, realizing the almost impossibility of this task, got two other pieces of business off his table, and gave the masses some raw meat on which to chew.