Phillies and Mike Adams agree to two-year, $12 million contract

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UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies and Mike Adams have agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract, pending a physical. The deal includes a vesting option for 2015.

1:54 AM: Mike Adams won’t get a chance to close after finding himself in free agency for the first time, but he will get closer-type money to set up for Jonathan Papelbon in Philadelphia.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown, the Phillies and Adams are close to a two-year deal with a vesting option for 2015. Citing family sources, KRIS-TV reported earlier that it’d be a three-year, $18 million pact, and while that doesn’t seem quite correct, the dollars are probably about right.

Adams, long one of the game’s best setup men, had a 3.27 ERA in 61 appearances for the Rangers last season. He allowed just one homer all year until his last appearance, when he gave up three, and then he was shut down the next day because of thoracic outlet syndrome. The condition required surgery, but he’s expected to be ready for spring training.

Having Adams available to work the eighth will take some pressure off young Phillies relievers such as Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman. With Adams likely making $6 million per year and Papelbon earning $12.5 million, the Phillies will have one of the game’s most expensive bullpens. Fortunately, they’ll make up for it by having one of the cheapest outfields after trading Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino last summer and acquiring Ben Revere to take over in center.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.