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.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.