The trade interest in San Diego Padres reliever Mike Adams is strong, and for good reason: He has been one of the elite setup men in baseball over the past four seasons, with an otherworldly 0.91 WHIP during that span.
Some clubs could point to the fact Adams won’t become a free agent until after the 2012 season and conclude that he has more value than teammate Heath Bell, the All-Star closer and free-agent-to-be.
By that logic, it shouldn’t be a surprise that sources say Seattle Mariners officials are fielding a similarly heavy volume of phone calls about All-Star closer Brandon League.
League is also on track to hit free agency after next season. And he has demonstrated two things that Adams has not: He can close, and he can get big outs in the American League.
Adams pitches in one of baseball’s most pitcher-friendly ballparks, in the lesser offensive league. That’s a fact, not a criticism. It’s not his fault that he has pitched for National League teams (the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego) during the entirety of his major league career.
Yet, League should be credited for what he has accomplished, including the 168 appearances he made for the Toronto Blue Jays, who compete in baseball’s best division. This year, he has a better WHIP (1.088) than Bell (1.205) despite pitching in the AL.
The Padres probably have the most relievers to trade before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. But there’s no guarantee that they have the best.
— Jon Paul Morosi