Otto Greule Jr
The Red Sox have been linked to yet another name in reliever Mike Adams.
Add another name to the already incredibly long list of free agents the Red Sox are connected to. Jim Bowden has thrown the Red Sox' name into the Mike Adams derby, such as it is, saying they, the Angels, and the Rangers are all interested in the right-handed reliever.
I know I'm going to sound like a broken record when I say the Red Sox are not in need of relief help, but at least at the moment they're really not. While their bullpen's ERA was pretty middling last year, they really found their go-to arms as the year went on, and even without any return to form by Andrew Bailey or Mark Melancon this team can still provide good innings after the starter has run his course.
At first glance, though, Adams at least seems to be one of the more impressive relief options they've been connected to. Still, there are some reasons for concern. For one thing, he's 34, and if that's not exactly a death sentence for a pitcher--much less a relief pitcher--the fact that his velocity has seemingly ticked downward in each of his last two seasons could be a red flag.
It's possible that the reduced velocity is just a matter of parks (juiced guns, as Adams moved from San Diego to Texas in the middle of 2011) or pitch classification, as Adams is shown to have thrown more four-seam fastballs than usual in 2012 at the expense of two-seamers. It's possible that some of those two-seamers were simply incorrectly classified. What can't be a mistake, however, is the drop in strikeout rate. For the first time since his rookie season, Adams saw his strikeout rate drop below nine K/9, all the way down to 7.74. To make things worse, this is the third straight year that number has fallen.
Adams has been a fantastic relief pitcher for years now, but there's a very real possibility he's on the way out. Even with offseason surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Adams is probably something less of a question mark than post-TJS Brian Wilson. But if the Sox really feel they need bullpen help, they should not be taking risks with guys like Adams unless they've already locked in a return for their present risks in the bullpen, since some of them will have to go just to make room on the roster.