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The Phillies filled their need for a right-handed pitcher for the eighth inning by signing Mike Adams to a two-year, $12 million deal.
Adams has been one of the best setup pitchers in the major leagues in recent seasons, meaning that he should give the Phillies one of the best late-inning duos in the league along with Jonathan Papelbon.
However, he will also combine with Papelbon to give the Phillies two relievers with a combined AAV of $18.5 million.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves were able to acquire right-hander Jordan Walden this offseason, after the Los Angeles Angels signed former Phillie Ryan Madson.
Walden was taken out of the closer’s role last season while he went 3-2 with 48 strikeouts and a 3.46 ERA. In 2011, however, Walden found himself in the All-Star Game while racking up 32 saves, 67 strikeouts and a 2.98 ERA. Walden struggled a bit against right-handed batters last season, but held left-handers to a .171 average.
As previously mentioned, Adams fits the mold for what the Phillies need in an eighth-inning reliever, but Walden comes in at nearly nine years younger and $6 million cheaper this year.
The Phillies were rumored to have been close to a deal for another cheap, young pitcher in Wilton Lopez of the Houston Astros, before turning their attention fully to Adams. However, the deal fell through earlier in the offseason, as Todd Zolecki wrote.
Walden made $495,000 last season at 24 years old and is not eligible for arbitration until 2014.
The Phillies may not have been able to acquire Walden in a one-for-one deal like the Braves were able to, but a trade including a young pitcher and another lesser prospect may have been enough.
Adams is a great addition, but Walden could have been a nice fit and allowed for even more payroll flexibility for an offseason or midseason acquisition.