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Image courtesy of DallasNews.com
by Mike Luna


When it comes to the 2013 roster, there’s still a lot that we don’t know.

  1. How will the front office replace Josh Hamilton’s production? 
  2. What’s to be done about the catching situation? 
  3. Can Jon Daniels trade Michael Young to the Hiroshima Carp for a dozen boxes of strawberry Pocky Sticks? 
  4. Will JD then attempt to convince Ron Washington that Young was sent to live on his uncle’s farm somewhere upstate?

These and countless other questions remain unanswered, but there’s one in particular that keeps sticking in my mind. That is, will Mike Adams be a part of this team moving forward?

To many fans it seems obvious that he should be, but I’m not so sure.


When it came to Adams in 2012, I spent a lot of time worrying about his SO/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings pitched). That stat in particular can make or break a guy like Adams, who earns his living on clean, efficient outs.

Before we talk about Adams, though, let’s look at a couple of closers that were considered among baseball’s elite not too long ago: Heath Bell and Jose Valverde.

Bell spent a few of years as the 8th inning set-up man in San Diego before taking over the 9th when Trevor Hoffman signed elsewhere.

In his first 4 seasons with the Padres, Bell’s SO/9 never dipped below 8. It topped out at 11.1 in 2010. The following year, however, it fell suddenly to 7.3, the worst mark of his career.

Though his numbers did improve in 2012 (back up to 8.3), his lagging performance seemed to catch up with him to the tune of a 5.09 ERA and 8 blown saves. While it’s possible that he could rebound next season, it looks to me like Bell is slowing down.

Valverde, too, seems to be slowing down.

His SO/9 was a ridiculous 12.6 in 2006, but it has steadily declined with each passing season. This year it bottomed out at 6.3, as Papa Grande looked like a shell of his former self.

How do Mike Adams’ numbers compare to those of Bell and Valverde? Unfortunately, we’re seeing a similar trend.

His best season was in 2009 when he struck out 10.9/9. It dropped to 9.9 and 9.0 in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

In 2012? Down to 7.7.

Would you like to know something else that these relievers have in common? All three are about the same age (Adams and Valverde are 34, Bell turned 35 in September).

Considering those factors – as well as his recent surgery and the fact that he will probably look for closer’s money on the open market – it makes sense for Texas to let Adams walk.

Press on, Rangers fans.

Mike Luna is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning.com. He can be reached at Mike.Luna@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @twbbg.
 


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