What Could Have Been — Mike Adams
As much as I love the Mets, the franchise has made a plethora of questionable moves over the years. While the infamous Tom Seaver trade has often been labeled as the “worst trade in Mets history,” there have also been many other minor moves here and there that I’m sure the organization wishes they could call “backsies” on. “What Could Have Been” will be an on-going series which will take a look back at these unfortunate transactions. Today, I will examine former Mets acquisition and current San Diego Padres stud setup man, Mike Adams.
Despite having one of the game’s best closers in Heath Bell (another former Met, and “What Could Have Been“), many people might argue that there’s actually a better reliever in the San Diego Padres bullpen. His name is Mike Adams.
Success didn’t come swiftly in Adams’ career, as it took seven years until he found a secure spot in the Padres ‘pen in 2008. The right-hander signed as an amateur free agent with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2001. After spending three seasons in the Brewers’ minor league system, the reliever got a shot in the show at age twenty-five, in 2004, and posted a 3.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 2.79 K/BB.
Before the 2005 season, the Brew Crew named Adams their closer to start the season, but only notched one save before being removed from the role and eventually the roster. Despite owning a 2.4 BB/9 in 2004, his control ballooned to 6.8 BB/9 in 2005, justifying his demotion.
Adams saw only 2.3 innings of action in “the show” during the 2006 season for the Brewers before being dealt to the New York Mets in exchange for the late Geremi Gonzalez. The right-hander logged 14.6 innings for the Norfolk Tides (the Triple-A affiliate for the New York Mets), posting a 4.91 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 1.71 K/BB.
The reliever’s tenure with the Mets was certainly short-lived, as the Cleveland Indians claimed him off waivers less than two months after the Mets traded for him. However, the loss proved to be a significant one. Adams did well with the Indians (1.93 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 5.8 K/9, 0 BB’s), but landed on the Padres after being traded just two weeks later from the Indians. The rest is well-known.
In 2008, the Padres handed Adams a roster spot, and for the first time since 2004, he ran with it. The former-journeyman posted a 2.48 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 3.89 K/BB in 65.3 glamourous innings for the Padres. In fact, to-date, Adams owns a seemingly impossible 1.71 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 4.16 K/BB in 210 innings from 2008 to present for the Padres. His successful run with San Diego rivals any top reliever in the league, and has earned him an almost untouchable label in regards to trade talk.
Mike Adams’ late-career success is what makes baseball great, but it was certainly unpredictable. As easy as it usually is to fault the Mets for giving up on the right-handed pitcher, one can easily blame the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians just as much. Blame aside, Adams’ status as the best setup man in baseball–post the New York Mets, of course–still begs the storied question, “What could have been.”