PHILADELPHIA - Mike Adams chose setting up for Jonathan Papelbon over a chance to make more money as a closer somewhere else.
Adams finalized a $12 million, two-year contract with Philadelphia on Thursday, giving the Phillies a premier eighth-inning reliever. The 34-year-old right-hander was 5-3 with a 3.27 ERA last season for the Texas Rangers.
"I felt this is a very good opportunity for myself," Adams said. "I had an opportunity to go a couple places and close and the opportunity to make the extra incentives. There was an NL East team that was really in on it. It was a tough choice between the two, but from what I've heard from other players that have been in this organization, what they thought about it, where I think they're headed over the next couple years, that played a huge part into my decision."
Adams' deal includes a club option for 2015 that would become guaranteed at $6 million if he has 65 games pitched in 2014.
His 2015 salary would become guaranteed at $6.5 million if he has 120 games pitched in 2013 and 2014 combined, with at least 60 in 2014.
"I'm counting that as guaranteed money," Adams said confidently. "I plan on fulfilling my contract for three years and hopefully beyond that. If all goes the way I see it, by the end of my contract this is going to be a bargain."
Philadelphia has been interested in Adams for a few years, and he fits a pressing need. The Phillies had trouble protecting leads before Papelbon took the ball in the ninth inning. Their 4.89 ERA in the eighth was next-to-last in the majors, and they allowed a league-worst 24 home runs in the inning.
"Obviously the back end of the bullpen is a volatile position from year to year unless guys have a tremendous track record, which Mike has had," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We wanted to try to address that better. Fortunately we have that addressed now."
Adams had surgery in October for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a numbing sensation in his fingers that sidelined him the last week of the season, and he's expected to recover by spring training. Adams gave up three home runs in the span of five batters in his last appearance after allowing one in his previous 60 games.
Despite coming off his least-effective season since his rookie year, Adams has been one of the top setup men in baseball for several seasons. From 2008-12, Adams has a 1.98 ERA in 297 games with 311 strikeouts to 81 walks in 295 innings.
"I think I could have filled in the closer's role in a lot of situations with different teams, and possibly lost out on some pretty good money because I was behind All-Star closers," Adams said. "But I'm not upset about it. Anyway, it's all working out the way it's supposed to be. I think getting to the AAV (annual average value) of $6 million a year was very important to me. Not just for myself and my family, but for guys who are going to come behind me."