Over the weekend the Philadelphia Phillies added two parts to the puzzle that was the starting rotation & back end of the bullpen. In trading for Ben Revere the team had to move 4th starter (or maybe 5th season) Vance Worley to the Minnesota Twins. The 8th inning last year was a disaster for the team as they led the league in leads given up in the 8th inning. They filled the holes with former Washington Nationals pitcher John Lannan and ex-Texas Rangers pitcher Mike Adams.
The 28-year old John Lannan has a career record of 42-52 and the left hander joins a rotation with Cliff Lee & Cole Hamels as starting lefties. Lannan is most known for hitting Chase Utley & Ryan Howard in his debut start back in 2007. Both men were hit back-to-back and Utley ended up breaking his hand and being lost for the season. Lannan had a 4-1 record last year used mainly in September with the main team after rosters expanded and the Nationals were comfortable with their division lead. He was the odd man out last year in a rotation that featured Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson & Ross Detwiler. He has a career 4.01 ERA and is a former 10 game winner for the Nationals. He made $5 Million last year but will take a pay cut to $2.5 Million this year on the 1 year deal.
Lannan has had a ton of poor run support in his career. 38% of his starts in his career have had his team score 2 runs or less while he was starting. In 134 games he’s only given up 5 home runs in the 1st inning of his work. The Phillies have hit Lannan hard in the past (even with being a left-hander) and in 19 games they’ve hit .313/.396/.503 which is a slash line that does not exist in the Phillies lineup right now and he gave up 17 home runs while no other team has hit more than 7 off of him. He has been lit up pitching at Citizens Bank Park in the past which is no surprise given those stats.
Lannan will compete for the 4th or 5th starting spot against Kyle Kendrick but should settle in nicely as a 5th starter. Lannan has a career record of 17-14 against the rest of the National League East.
Mike Adams was a reliever the Phillies were known to have targeted and is the type of pitcher Ruben Amaro Jr. enjoys signing. The undrafted 34-year-old right hander has been an extremely good late inning pitcher posting a career 2.28 ERA with a 9.0 SO/9 innings and as of the 2011 season split between San Diego & Texas had a 1.47 ERA. Last year the right hander struggled at the end of the season for the Rangers giving up 3 home runs in 3 straight batters against Oakland. He had a mild cervical sprain which caused him the issues he had but he has been cleared to resume throwing in time for Spring Training. Adams signed for 2 years and $12 million with a vesting option for a 3rd season.
Adams is expected to be the bridge in the 8th inning to get to closer Jonathan Papelbon. Last year the Phillies tried many relievers in the 8th inning with none having any type of success. The team’s failure to do anything productive in the 8th inning was amazing when you look at the stats: 84 earned runs given up (2nd most was 73 in the 6th inning)…93 runs total…61 extra base hits…80 walks (2nd most was 46 in the 1st inning). That’s some staggering numbers when you look at all the pitchers who had pitched in the 8th inning: Chad Qualls, Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman, Phillippe Aumont & Michael Schwimer were the 5 most active pitchers in the 8th inning (Cliff Lee was 6th by the way…).
It was also reported today that the Phillies are interested in left hander J.P. Howell. They are one of five teams in on the reliever (Nationals, Cubs, Mariners & Rangers are the others) and the 29-year-old former 1st round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals pitched 55 games last year as a lefty specialist for the Rays and ended with a 1-0 record and a 3.04 ERA. If signed Howell would go along with Bastardo & Jeremy Horst as the left handers in the bullpen.
No word as of yet if the Phillies will add an outfield bat but if Ruben Amaro Jr. is looking to bolster the bullpen he may be content on adding just an average bat and hoping the pitching holds up. We’ve seen how well that’s worked in the past seasons though…Tags: J.P. Howell, John Lannan, Mike Adams, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Ruben Amaro Jr., Vance Worley