With few closing options available via free agency, teams have little choice but to buy seventh and eighth inning depth instead. And considering Brandon League recently signed a $22.5 million, three-year deal with the Los Angles Dodgers to be their setup man, it's possible that other teams will have to pony up similar coin just to get the ball to their closer. Since non-closer relievers might become the hottest commodity on the free agent market, below is a complete run-down of said market's best options.
Mike Adams: For the past five seasons, there have been few non-closing relievers more consistently dominant than Mike Adams. In fact, since 2008, Adams has owned an incredible 1.98 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 3.84 K/BB in 295 IP. Despite being so dominant, the right-hander has only seen 14 save opportunities (and converted just 3 over them). Looking to sure up their bullpen for the playoffs, the Texas Rangers acquired Adams from the San Diego Padres for a bounty: prospects Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland. In 25.6 IP for the Rangers, Adams did his job, hurling a 2.10 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 5.00 K/BB.
But at age 33 in 2012, it finally appeared as though Adams' reign as a lights-out reliever come to an end. His 3.27 ERA was his highest rate (in a full-season) since 2004 (3.40 ERA), and even though xFIP has never been a friend to Adams, his 3.95 xFIP is indicative of what 2013 could look like. Adams is simply getting hit more often (.327 BABIP vs. career .260 BABIP), striking out less batters (7.74 K/9 vs. career 9.03 K/9), allowing more line drives (20.9 percent LD percent vs. career 17.2 LD percent), and has seen his fastball drop 1.4 MPH on average (resulting in a -5.1 RAA). Regardless, it still wouldn't be shocking to see a team ink Adams, who made $4.4 million this season, on a two or three year contract worth anywhere from $4.6 to $6 annually-merely based on his history and the market... click here to read the rest of this article.