2013 Phillies Report Card: Mike Adams

Mike Adams was one of the best relievers in baseball, closer or not, from 2008-11. The right-hander used an array of mid-90’s four-seam fastballs as well as a cutter to break bats and rack up the strikeouts. His control was also pristine, allowing him to post strikeout-to-walk ratios in excess of five-to-one twice, in 2009 and in 2011.

Adams was not without his health concerns, however. He had surgery on his right shoulder to repair his labrum and rotator cuff in October 2008, keeping him out of action until June 2009. He strained his oblique in the summer of 2010. Most importantly, he finished up the 2012 season suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder, giving him another date with the surgeon.

The off-season surgery, along with a 1.5 MPH decline in his fastball velocity, wasn’t enough to stop GM Ruben Amaro from signing the then-34-year-old Adams to a two-year, $12 million deal with a third-year club option worth $6 million. Having a back-end of the bullpen that included closer Jonathan Papelbon, Adams, and lefty Antonio Bastardo was enough to send chills down the spines of opposing teams, or so we thought.

Adams was reliable through about the first five weeks of the season, owning a 2.57 ERA with 21 strikeouts and five walks in 14 and two-thirds innings of work through May 8. In his next 12 appearances spanning 11 innings, he had a 5.73 ERA with four strikeouts and six walks. Compared to 2012, his average fastball velocity declined by another 1.5 MPH. It was announced that he had once again torn his labrum (twice, this time) and his rotator cuff, requiring season-ending surgery.

Overall, Adams finished with a 3.96 ERA, which is not terrible, but it’s a far cry from the dominant reliever he used to be and the one the Phillies hoped they would be seeing when he signed on the dotted line. I gave him a solid C for the season because he wasn’t altogether terrible, and it isn’t his fault the Phillies ignored the warning signs about his health, offering a multi-year deal to a 34-year-old relief pitcher with a history of shoulder issues.

Michael Paul Eric Ryan
F C- D-  D-

Leave a Reply



  1. Bubba0101

    November 20, 2013 08:19 AM

    A day late and a dollar short. At least it wasnt a three year gaurantee

  2. JM

    November 20, 2013 08:36 AM


  3. Tom

    November 20, 2013 09:12 AM

    So glad we signed him instead of Koji.

  4. Mark66

    November 20, 2013 09:50 AM

    Those surgeries apparently didn’t register with Amaro. Maybe he missed the reports.

  5. yizzit

    November 20, 2013 11:34 AM

    If we wind up signing Mujica, it will only echo this contract and firmly prove Amaro is running in circles, and does not know what he is doing.

    Definitely agree though, for the short period we had him, at the beginning it did look as though the deal might work out somewhat for us. But alas!

  6. Bubba0101

    November 20, 2013 03:34 PM


    I agree in the most sarcastic way I could ever agree. Koji would have made way too much sense and would have helped us way too much. Adams was definitely the right move for staying irrelevant and paying way too much to relievers that break down immediately.

  7. Ryan

    November 20, 2013 04:17 PM

    Thoracic outlet syndrome is a major, major surgery–as in way worse than an ACL, Achilles, or rotator cuff (it removes your top rib on each side often times throwing the entire body out of whack). Some people struggle to even lead a normal life after having it. I can’t believe that RAJ committed so much money and two years to a guy that just had it!

  8. hk

    November 20, 2013 04:46 PM


    That information must not have shown up in the 7 year old scouting reports that the team used in their decision making last off-season.

  9. jonny 5

    November 21, 2013 02:43 PM

    “Don’t worry guys, I’m sure Bob McClure will be great at fixing the bullpen issues. He’s great!”

    -Ruben Amaro

    I think I may either have dust in my eye or the thought of McClure as pitching coach is actually making me cry.

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