Rangers acquire reliever Adams from Padres
Veteran righty has been lights out this season
The American League West leaders acquired right-hander Mike Adams from San Diego before Sunday's 4 p.m. EDT deadline after trading for Baltimore setup man Koji Uehara on Saturday night.
Adams, who was 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in 48 games for the Padres, will be under Texas' control through next season. Uehara has a $4 million option for 2012 that kicks in if he pitches in 12 more games this season.
"That was a big key for us, both with Koji and again with Mike. These are guys that are not two-month situations," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said on a conference call after the deadline. "These are two guys that get outs in big spots against good teams, good hitters."
There were several reports leading up to the deadline that Texas was in serious talks with the Padres and close to acquiring all-star closer Heath Bell, who can become a free agent after the season.
The Rangers instead sent minor league pitchers Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland to San Diego for Adams, who was Bell's primary setup man.
"We discussed trading [Bell and Adams]. In the end, we had targeted the players we really wanted to acquire," Padres GM Jed Hoyer said. "The two Texas pitchers, they were guys that we had scouted heavily this year. It was pretty obvious for a long time that Texas was going to be a fit for us. … Mike was the piece that they wanted."
Before last year's non-waiver trade deadline, the Rangers traded for starter Cliff Lee. The ace left-hander left as a free agent last winter to go back to Philadelphia.
Adams, a Texas native, has 49 strikeouts and nine walks this season.
"I came in this morning honestly preparing to start being the closer," Adams said before San Diego's home game against Colorado. "I'm going back to Texas, going back home. I'm excited about the opportunity to pitch in a pennant race. …Hopefully, I can step in there and give them that little extra boost they need."
Texas went to its first World Series last year and has been on top of the AL West most of this season. But the Rangers' bullpen has an AL-high 19 losses along with 15 blown saves.
Neftali Feliz has converted 21 of 26 save opportunities this season. The hard-throwing right-hander last season set a major league rookie record with 40 saves. He had only three blown chances.
Uehara had a 1.72 ERA in 43 appearances for Baltimore, including a shutout streak of 15 innings in 13 outings since June 19 at Washington. The right-hander is the best among AL relievers this season with opponents hitting only .152 against him and 7.8 strikeouts for every walk.
"We certainly helped ourselves tremendously by getting [Adams] and Koji," manager Ron Washington said. "I can use Adams in the eighth, I can use Uehara in the eighth. I've got two eighth-inning guys. I can use Adams in the ninth, I can use Uehara in the ninth. There's some great flexibility right there. All it does is make our bullpen better."
The Rangers also likely will have him back next season. Uehara has a $4 million option for 2012 that kicks in if he pitches in 12 more games this season.
Adams went 7-2 with 76 holds and a 1.31 ERA in 155 relief appearances over the past three seasons with San Diego. He held opponents to a .163 average with a .221 on-base percentage.
"He's become one of the best relievers in the game," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's put himself in a situation where he's very valuable and I see tht continuing. He has great years ahead of him."
The 33-year-old Adams is a Texas native who played baseball and basketball at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Originally drafted by Milwaukee, he also pitched in the New York Mets and Cleveland organizations before the Padres acquired him in July 2006.
"I'm going back to Texas, going back home. I'm excited about the opportunity to pitch in a pennant race," he said. "This past month has been frustrating. It had become a little difficult to come to the park because I hate losing. … Hopefully, I can step in there and give them that little extra boost they need."
Wieland, a fourth-round pick by Texas in 2008, is 10-3 with a 1.80 ERA in 21 games this season combined at AA Frisco and Class A Myrtle Beach. The 21-year-old right-hander has 132 strikeouts and 15 walks in 129 2-3 innings.
Erlin also split this season between Frisco and Myrtle, going 8-4 with a 3.34 ERA.